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
During the daytime scene at the dead-end where police and media are gathering there is a news van with markings that read "KQWK 17 News - West Memphis." There are no TV stations based in West Memphis, Arkansas. West Memphis gets its local television news from Memphis, just six miles away, across the Mississippi River in Tennessee. 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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