'West of Memphis' a compelling documentary on murder case in Arkansas

'West of Memphis' a compelling documentary on murder case in Arkansas

Steve Salles, Standard-Examiner movie critic - March 8th, 2013
3.5 stars

For years, we’ve been hearing about the “West Memphis 3.” There have been three previous documentaries about them — three “Paradise Lost” docs.

“West of Memphis” is the story of three teenagers who were convicted in the brutal slayings of three little boys in West Memphis, Ark., in 1993. The boys’ bodies were discovered in a shallow ditch, naked, beaten and mutilated.

An outraged community wanted the teens executed for their vicious crimes. One got the death penalty; the other two received life sentences.

Years later, new evidence showed the teens may not have done it. Some who had testified admitted they had lied under oath. Evidence began to point in the direction of one young victim’s stepfather.

It’s an extraordinary journey of many years. The filmmakers have amazing access to all involved, including the prosecutor, the victims’ families and the incarcerated young men.

You won’t believe how it turns out, in one of the most compelling and comprehensive documentaries on this very tough subject.


  • THE FILM: ‘West of Memphis’
  • FEATURING: Featuring Damien Wayne Echols, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, Lorri Davis and John Fogleman
  • BEHIND THE SCENES: Co-written and directed by Amy Berg (“Deliver Us From Evil”). Filmed in West Memphis, Ark.
  • PLAYING: Broadway Centre in Salt Lake City. 148 minutes.
  • MPAA RATING: R for Disturbing violent content and some landuage.

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