West of Memphis (2012)

19 Feb

Review of the documentary West of Memphis

Last year I watched and reviewed the Paradise Lost trilogy, three documentaries about the Memphis Three. These boys (16,17 and 18) were the suspects in a the murder case of three 8-year-old boys. They went to trial and were convicted. The movies were hard to watch because of the subject matter, but were very important, because they made a case that the three convicted boys might be innocent. The case got international attention and through the years the documentary makers kept coming back to the case with new insights, which eventually set them all free. West of Memphis also looks at the case and the question is whether it brings anything new to the table after watching the 400 minutes of Paradise Lost documentaries.

If you are new to this case, West of Memphis very effectively gives you the details of what happened exactly, the decisions which were made by police and prosecution and what lead to their conviction. After this it focusses on their innocence and the very large group of people involved in proving the innocence of the boys. Among those people were a lot of celebrities, including Henry Rollins, Johnny Depp and even Peter Jackson. Both Rollins and Jackson are interviewed for this movie and give their opinions and what they did in order to help. It also asks the question who could have been responsible for the murders and makes a very strong case against the stepfather of one of the murdered boys.

Should you watch West of Memphis if you’ve seen the Paradise Lost movies? I think most of what is presented in this documentary will be familiar, but it does add some information I had not heard before and therefore is worth watching.

If you haven’t seen those movies then I would suggest you check out West of Memphis first and decide after if you want to know more about the case and people involved and then check out the Paradise Lost trilogy. It still makes you wonder how often injustice is served and how many innocent men and women are currently locked up. I’m sure the Memphis Three weren’t the only ones.

Score: 8


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