Film Review: West of Memphis – I left stunned, dazed and delighted

Review by: Mut Asheru

Jason BaldwinPhoto by Lisa Waddell © The Commercial Appeal, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Jason Baldwin
Photo by Lisa Waddell © The Commercial Appeal, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Amy Berg’s WEST OF MEMPHIS opens at the Angelika Dallas theater this weekend. It is a riveting documentary that will you stunned, dazed and yes delighted as you leave the theater. Strap yourself in though because this emotional account of the plight of the West Memphis 3 is a ride that lasts a little over two hours. And rightfully so considering how long the 3 had been behind bars waiting for exoneration…or just a fair trial. You will not leave confident in the Arkansas judicial system however.

I like many others first became acquainted with the WM3 after viewing HBO’s PARADISE LOST. That documentary scared me. To think 3 children were capable of murdering 3 smaller children in such a fashion made my blood run cold.

Berg did not break any new documentary filming ground but what filming techniques she does use she uses well.The tightly edited and interview full documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS makes more than adequate use of  graphic photos and horrific homicide details. The feature is smartly paced and draws the audience in within the first frame.

WEST OF MEMPHIS will make you cringe. Might make you cry. But thankfully you will also laugh in some places just don’t take the underage kids.

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