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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
"Lyrical, philosophical, humane and informative..."
American screenwriter, producer and documentary filmmaker Amy J. Berg's second documentary feature which she co-wrote with screenwriter and film editor Billy McMillin and co-produced, premiered in the Documentary Premieres section at the 28th Sundance Film Festival in 2012, was screened in the Mavericks section at the 37st Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in USA and is an American production which was produced by producers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Damien Echols and Lorri Davis. It tells the story about American 16-year-old Charles Jason Baldwin, American 17-year-old Jessie Lloyd Misskelley Jr and American 18-year-old Michael Wayne Echols who in June, 1993 in the city of West Memphis in the state of Arkansas in Crittenden county, USA was arrested for the triple homicide of three 8-year-old boys named Michael Moore, Steve Branch and Christopher Byers whose bodies were found by a former Juvenile officer named Steve Jones and a policeman named Mike Allen in a pond in the Robin Hood Hills.
Distinctly and subtly directed by American filmmaker Amy J. Berg, this fourth documentary about the now well-known West Memphis Three which was preceded by American filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" (1996), "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations" (2000) and "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" (2011), is narrated from multiple viewpoints, draws a more multidimensional portrayal of the place where two young men were sentenced to life imprisonment and one to death by the Arkansas Supreme Court in the year of 1994, focuses mostly on the story of Damien Echols and reexamines the case which has engaged filmmakers, actors, musicians, journalists, defense attorneys, activists and people from all over the world in a common action to get the three men who become preys of a satirical judicial system exonerated. While notable for its distinct and atmospheric milieu depictions and the sterling cinematography by French cinematographer Maryse Alberti and Irish cinematographer Ronan Killeen, this narrative-driven retelling of a criminal case which began two decades from today, which as the former documentaries proves how horrible things can turn out when people in power decides to play almighty and self-righteously impose their judgment on people they regard as inferior and which deprived the freedom of three American citizens and isolated them from the civilized society for eighteen years, introduces new interviews, theories and stories and contains a timely score by Australian musicians and composers Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
This investigative, educational and scrutinizing study of a 20th and 21st century tragedy which is set mostly in the American South and which through a wide range of conversations with people who has, still is and will always be connected to the case describes the significance of the media and politics in this matter and points pretty clearly as to who the real perpetrator might be, is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented narrative structure, subtle continuity and nuanced style of filmmaking. A lyrical, philosophical, humane and informative documentary feature which brings forth unheard voices, acknowledges the many people who stood by the three convicted boys who became the earliest and most accessible targets of hatred and condemnation until their arduous and disregarded call for justice prevailed and underlines how a pivotal union between a once aspiring magician and a woman who dedicated her life to a man on death row was born in the midst of this real life horror story which began on a day in May, 1993 when three boys went missing.
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