A further investigation into the arrest of three teenagers convicted of killing three young boys in Arkansas who spent nearly 20 years in prison before being released after new DNA evidence indicated they may be innocent.
Damien Wayne Echols
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West of Memphis is an examination of a failure of justice in Arkansas. The documentary tells the hitherto unknown story behind an extraordinary and desperate fight to bring the truth to light. Told and made by those who lived it, the filmmakers' unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defense, allows the film to show the investigation, research and appeals process in a way that has never been seen before; revealing shocking and disturbing new information about a case that still haunts the American South. Written by
Alright, let me be completely honest with you about how I stumbled upon this documentary.
For most of my life, I had no idea who or what the West Memphis 3 were. I'm a 23 year old girl, living in Toronto. When these crimes were committed, I was in kindergarten likely learning how to read. So the fact I never heard of the crime never exactly surprised me. And if it wasn't for Johnny Depp, I probably would have never heard of the crimes to begin with.
I first learned about the West Memphis 3 watching a Johnny Depp interview on David Letterman. I was intrigued, looked up the case, became slightly disturbed, and unfortunately, forgot about it for a while. I hadn't actually heard about the case again until TIFF announced the final films in its 2012 program. West of Memphis sounded familiar, and low and behold, it had been the topic of the discussion in that said interview. After reading that Depp was attending and discussing the film after, I purchased the tickets.
Now I'll be honest, it may be slightly sad or pathetic, but Johnny Depp was the main reason I decided to see West of Memphis. I'm a huge fan of his work, and I had the opportunity to see him discuss a film, so of course I was getting the tickets. I realized after the film, if it wasn't for Depp I'd never even know about the West Memphis 3, and that made me realize how much the media and publicity truly helped their case. I barely knew a thing about them before I walked into the screening, but coming out, I was glad I blindly followed Depp towards it.
West of Memphis tells a true story that the world needs to hear. It's a film that I sincerely believe everyone needs to see simply so they can be aware of how cruel the justice system really can be.
he story of the Memphis 3 is eye opening, and disturbing. It's terrifying to know how badly the justice system can fail somebody. For nearly two decades Damien Echols, Jason Misskelley and Jason Baldwin sat behind bars for no real reason, while a murderer walked free. The crimes they were charged with were absolutely horrendous, and they were suspects purely because they fit a stereotype. That fact alone is just plain wrong. Facts were ignored, forensics were wrong, and three young men suffered due to the failure and lies of others. Stuff like this shouldn't happen, but yet it does. The worst part about it all is that the three men are still technically guilty. They may be free from imprisonment, but they're not innocent in the eyes of the law.
I'm not normally very big on documentaries, but I think this is an important film to watch purely because it's a crime and trial that shouldn't be forgotten. The film is over, but the story isn't. Justice hasn't been served yet, and that's something that needs to change.
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