In 1993, a horrific triple child murder was discovered in West Memphis, Arkansas, but the reaction to it precipitated a horror of its own. This film follows up on the story of the three boys, called the West Memphis Three, who were convicted for this crime with questionable evidence. For years, the boys' fate sparked a mass movement striving to prove their innocence while the state is equally determined to avoid admitting it could have been wrong. Through the swirl of new evidence and suspects, the Three tell their own tale about enduring this injustice against the opinions of the victim's families in a debate that eventually came to an inadequate resolution.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Todd and Dana Moore, the parents of 8 year-old victim Michael, wrote a letter to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences asking that the film be removed from consideration. In the letter they said that the film glorifies Damien Wayne Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. Director Joe Berlinger had in fact acknowledged during an interview with salon.com that he determined Echols was innocent after speaking with him for five minutes prior to the trial. Despite the Moore's request(or perhaps because of it) the film was nominated for Best Documentary, Features for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. It lost to Undefeated (2011). See more »
Damien Wayne Echols:
If I focused on the things I can't change, the things that have hurt me, what people have done to me, then they would have already broken me. They would have killed me inside and out. I can get up in the morning and I don't feel sorry for myself, I don't hate my life. You have a lot of people in here that all they can think about is what they don't have and how much they want out and how much they want something else. But for some reason, this situation has helped me to see more of what I do ...
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The directors said that audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2011 would be the only audiences to see the film in that version. The reason is that events which took place the previous month necessitated a new ending to the film. See more »
The tale of the West Memphis 3 came to an end this past year, and Joe Berlinger's and Bruce Sinofsky's advocacy doc trilogy comes to an end, as well, and quite satisfyingly. Watching this third installment is quite painful, even with the mostly happy ending, because it cuts back and forth between the past and the present, showing us just how long these men spent in jail - literally over half their lives. It's particularly touching to see Damien Echols, the only one of the three who was sentenced to death (a sentence which was never off the table until he was freed), grow from an awkward, certainly skeevy-looking teenager to an intelligent, well-spoken adult. One has to wonder what he would have been like if none of this had ever happened. This doc has a lot to cover (you could probably get the gist of the whole series just by watching this one), and in a way it feels a tad unwieldy and perhaps unfocused. But it still does a great job. I sincerely hope the WM3 can now find some peace.
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