Thursday, January 24, 2013

West of Memphis

Director: Amy Berg

This documentary is about one of the most heinous cases of wrongful conviction in American judicial history. In 1993 the bodies of three young boys were found bound, mutilated and drowned in a drainage canal in of West Memphis. The discovery caused such an outrage three local teenagers were soon in custody. Eventually one confessed and the other two were detained as his accomplices. The three young men spent 18 years in prison, one under a death sentence, for a horrifying triple murder they clearly did not commit. Eventually after initial public outrage more and more people began to take interest in the miscarriage of justice. This is the most graphic of the four documentaries to date with footage hard to watch at times. In hindsight there is no shortage of credible suspects and the film systematically investigates the available forensic evidence. Despite their innocence in order to receive a reprieve the three prisoners had to plead guilty thereby closing the case for ever. The film argues the action taken was to protect the state against the rights of the defendants leaving the real guilty parities free. Spectacular soundtrack.

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