Based on the actual events of the West Memphis Three, where three young boys were savagely murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. Spurred on by the demand from a grieving town, the local police act quickly to bring three "devil-worshipping" teenagers to trial. With their lives hanging in the balance, investigator Ron Lax is trying to find the truth between the town's need for justice and the guilt of the accused.Written by
A track playing in and the guitarist's photograph on the wall of Ron Lax's (Colin Firth) office are of Robert Johnson's (1911-1938), a highly influential blues artist, who was rumoured to have sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his mastery of the blues guitar. It turned out that the rumor/story was stolen from another blues musician named Tommy Johnson. See more »
West Memphis, Arkansas is situated along the Mississippi River on some the flattest terrain in the nation. But the movie shows landscapes, especially along the creek where the bodies were found, that are far steeper and hillier than exists in or around West Memphis. See more »
Well, that's all right, mama / That's all right for you / That's all right, mama, just any way you do.
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Leaves heartbreaking mystery for viewers to 'solve'
Director Egoyan personalizes the murders of three eight-year-old boys, drawing in tight on the grief of Pam Hobbs (Witherspoon), the mother of one of the victims. At the same time, by pulling back to the POV of savvy private investigator Ron Lax (Firth), who volunteers to assist attorneys for the three teenagers charged with the crime, Egoyan portrays with a cold eye the mistakes, maneuvers and mayhem that shaped its aftermath. For viewers, the result is a creeping sense of dread that this mystery, based closely on true events, is about to veer into even darker territory than that of the crime scene itself.
Egoyan knows--as will many viewers--that the state of Arkansas considers this chilling case solved. He challenges that certainty by allowing a spider of doubt to enter and move insidiously from one scene to another, until viewers are caught in the web of this case--one that, two decades later, still holds almost everyone who's encountered it. This is "The Crucible" of our time, only here, the hysteria is felt, not seen, and the persecution continues. By understating his story, Egoyan lets a legion of details--factual and emotional--bedevil it.
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