Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Blu-ray Review: DEVIL'S KNOT
Directed by Atom Egoyan
Distributed by RLJ/Image Entertainment
If you have followed the case of The West Memphis Three, then you surely know about the book DEVIL'S KNOT by Mara Leveritt. That book is one of the best resources about this tragic case. There have been many films about this case, all of which were documentaries if I recall correctly. Most well known is the trilogy of PARADISE LOST films produced by HBO. Atom Egoyan's film DEVIL'S KNOT is based on Leveritt's book, and is the first "Hollywood-ized" version of the WM3 story that I know about. I was a little leery going in, wondering what a film with a big name actors would do to the WM3 story. Turns out, even though this is a big budget Hollywood film, it was just as informative as any other films or books out there on this subject. Here is the basic synopsis from the Image Entertainment website:
Academy Award® winners Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, 2010) and Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line, 2005) lead an all-star cast in this gripping, heart-wrenching true story that shocked the nation. May 5, 1993. West Memphis, Arkansas. Three young boys playing in the nearby woods never come home for dinner. In the rush to find and convict the killers, police focus on a trio of teenagers suspected of devil worship. As the mother of one of the murdered boys (Witherspoon) tries to come to grips with this unspeakable tragedy, she is desperate to believe that the killers have been found and will be brought to justice. It is only when an investigator (Firth) reveals that the evidence doesn’t all add up, that the community is forced to face the reality that the true killer might still be out there.
First off, if you do not know anything about the West Memphis Three case, it a very sad and tragic case to follow. I highly suggest you Google the subject and read up about it. It is a truly fascinating case and should anger you at the way our Justice System works sometimes. Everything started back in 1993 when three 8 year old boys were brutally murdered and the police accused and convicted 3 teenage boys of the crimes, even though they had zero evidence that tied any of them to the murders.
That sparked years of appeals and petitions to "Free the West Memphis Three", as most people could see that the teenage boys convicted of this crime most likely had no involvement in it.
The film DEVIL'S KNOT gives a very accurate portrayal of all the events that occurred in this case. The films is brilliantly acted from everyone involved, especially Reese Witherspoon who gives an incredibly touching and emotional performance as one of the Mothers of one of the murdered young boys. Also, the actors they got to portray the 3 convicted teenagers, or the West Memphis 3, were spot on. Each one looked remarkably like the real person they were portraying.
This film is not easy to watch. In fact, in a couple of places the film brought tears to my eyes. Being the father of two 8 year old boys probably made this film hit home more than it would to some, but I think anyone and everyone will be effected in some way when they see this film. The image of when the cops find the boy's bodies is truly heartbreaking, and was extremely well done in terms of looking very realistic. That was the first scene that really got to me. There were many other scenes that got to me, some that made me very sad, and then some that made me extremely angry. You can't help but wonder how the West Memphis police department could do such a horrible job like they did with this case. Evidence was lost, evidence not taken, etc. Very sad situation for all involved. You feel for the parents of the murdered little boys, and you can't help but feel for the three teenagers that most likely did not do this crime. The three convicted teenagers were finally released from prison back in 2011 after entering Alford Pleas, after serving over 18 years of their lives behind bars.
Weather you know nothing about this case or think you know everything there is to know, do yourself a favor and watch DEVIL'S KNOT. While hard to watch due to the subject matter, it is a very well made film and worthy of your attention.
DEVIL'S KNOT is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from RLJ/Image Entertainment and contains the following Special Features:
* Deleted Scenes
* The Making of Devil's Knot
* Getting Into Character: The Cast of Devil's Knot featurette
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD
CLICK HERE to purchase the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack