Directed by Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Stars: Jesse Misskelley, Jr, Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols
I heard about this movie from Tassoula from the Cinebanter podcast when they recently had a discussion about the now trilogy series of documentaries from HBO films. It was shown on VOD over the weekend and I had to see them.
The first movie tells the story of three outcasts from West Memphis, Arkansas that are accused of committing the murders of three 8-year-old boys in May 1993. Directors Berlinger and Sinofsky follow the trails of the accused.
First, it was Jessie Misskelley Jr that tried first, because of a coerced confession that would admitted into evidence that said that Echols, Baldwin and himself committed the murders. Even though, it seems that the Jessie's story didn't fit the timeline of when the murders occurred. The subsequent trails of the three teenagers seemed to be a media circus.
It was a modern day witch hunt. Accusing these three boys of a crime that they may not have commit. I understood the families of the murder victims when they said that they want the accused burn in hell. Personally, I was a little sketchy if they were actually innocent or not. It seemed the evidence or lack thereof was all circumstantial evidence and here say. There was no physical evidence that linked the trio to the crimes.
After the credit rolled on the movie, I was flabbergasted by the outcome of the trial. How could this be possible? The judicial is a joke if this was the outcome. Did I have my doubts about the verdict? Absolutely. Did I believe that they were all innocent? No. I had my doubts about Echols in the last moments of the movie.
This movie had me shaking my head in disbelief. The filmmakers' cameras were an impartial jury to the people who may not have known about what really happened. Unprecedented access was more astonishing them the OJ Simpson trial or Michael Jackson's. It amazes me that the filmmakers could make a film that did not pass judgment on anyone. It cast reasonable doubt on other potential suspects that the WMPD did not bother to investigate. Amazing.