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Movie Review: West of Memphis
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West of Memphis
Directed by Amy Berg
Featuring: Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, Lorri Davis, Terry Branch, Eddie Vedder, Peter Jackson
Sony Pictures Classics
Rated R | 147 Minutes
Release Date: March 8, 2013

Directed by Amy Berg, West of Memphis is a documentary about the West Memphis Three – Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin – three teenagers who were arrested in 1994 for the murders of three 8-year old children: Christopher Byers, Steven Branch, and Michael Moore.

The West Memphis Three were tried and convicted and remained in prison for more than 18 years. Berg’s film (produced by Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson) focuses on Terry Hobbs, stepfather of Stevie Branch, one of the victims of the 1993 crime, as a potential suspect due to newfound DNA evidence linking him to the crime.

West of Memphis is another miscarriage-of-justice documentary, similar to The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon. The film chronicles the history of the imprisoned men all the way up to their eventual release through interviews conducted with lawyers, judges, journalists, family members, witnesses, and the West Memphis Three themselves. There are also interviews with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and other WM3 supporters like Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder who have been following the case for two decades.

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