Devil’s Knot

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DEVIL’S KNOT—–trying to stay abreast of America’s ever-rushing river of heinous crime is a dismal full-time job, so one can be excused from falling behind occasionally. Such was/is the case with my take on this 2013 movie, based on the horrific murders of three little boys in West Memphis, Arkansas back in 1993.  I vaguely recalled reading about the crime, had completely forgotten that it happened a quarter century-ago and not last month, and was unaware that there had already been four award-winning documentaries on the subject.

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For me, this film was intriguing, even with some slackness in its writing, but it was dumped on by most reviewers already over-familiar with the story, with the curious label “unnecessary” applied often.  It also tanked money-wise, making only $2,000,000, a huge loss on its quite modest $15,000,000 cost.  Seems the public no longer gave a hoot, or were swamped with similar traumas constantly splashed across various forms of TV.  Not a happy experience, any way you cut, but I did appreciate the greater part of the film, directed by Atom Egoyan, who has done well by human tragedy in the past with The Sweet Hereafter and Ararat.

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The “West Memphis Three” were a motley trio of scruffy teens accused of employing grotesque Satanic ritual in the slaughter of the eight year olds. Incredibly sloppy police work, paranoia-stoked public revenge and corrupt legality up the line resulted in a sham trial and years of wasted lives, with no justice done for anyone. Think the system works?  Where do you live? Saturn?

Excellent cast—Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Alessandro Nivola, Elias Koteas, James Hamrick, Bruce Greenwood, Mireille Enos, Amy Ryan, Dane Dehaan and Rex Linn.  114 minutes.

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