West of Memphis (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

West of Memphis (2012)



Critic Consensus: Both a sobering look at a true crime story and a scathing indictment of the American justice system, West of Memphis is a real-life horror story told with fury and compassion.

Movie Info

From director Amy Berg, in collaboration with first time Producers Damien Echols and Lorri Davis along with filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh comes West of Memphis, a powerful examination of a catastrophic failure of justice in Arkansas. The documentary tells the hitherto unknown story behind an extraordinary and desperate fight to bring the truth to light. Told and made by those who lived it, Berg's unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defense, allows the film to show the investigation, research and appeals process in a way that has never been seen before; revealing shocking and disturbing new information about a case that still haunts the American South. -- (C) Official Sitemore
Rating: R (for disturbing violent content and some language)
Genre: Documentary
Directed By:
Written By: Amy Berg, Billy McMillin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 6, 2013
Box Office: $0.3M
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site

News & Interviews for West of Memphis

Critic Reviews for West of Memphis

All Critics (111) | Top Critics (27)

It's not a new story, true, but "West of Memphis" makes it both extremely personal and universally painful.

Full Review… | April 5, 2013
Detroit News
Top Critic

We feel like we're watching an overlong true-crime television episode and not a movie.

Full Review… | March 21, 2013
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

A real-life horror story, made no less shocking by the familiarity of its early scenes.

Full Review… | March 14, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

While the "Paradise Lost" films captured events as they unfolded in the heat of battle, "West of Memphis" has the luxury of at least partial closure.

Full Review… | March 14, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic

A true-crime story that begins with a notorious murder case and grows into a chilling indictment of the American justice system.

Full Review… | March 7, 2013
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

A documentary that distills 19 years of a witch hunt, a grass roots movement, lost leads, confusion, countless appeals, and hope into one remarkable movie that is hellbent on setting the record straight.

Full Review… | August 9, 2013

Audience Reviews for West of Memphis

Oddly enough, Mr. Bojangles is spared of any footage whatsoever!! Leans the guilt on Terry Hobbs as Paradise Lost 2 did to Mark Byers. Offers nothing deep, instead only Depp.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer


An absolutely devastating documentary concerning three eight-year old boys killed in Arkansas in 1993, and how the judicial system pushed ahead on guilty verdicts for three teenage boys despite having no concrete evidence whatsoever, bullying their way to the decision they wanted all along. When new evidence is presented and a new suspect emerges out from amongst the dark shadows of the wooded area behind a trailer park where these murders took place, the case is examined more carefully as these now three young men wait for freedom. This is a powerful, monumental picture in the vein of "The Thin Blue Line" in how it effectively shows how the case was so horribly mishandled, then presenting a viable suspect who appears to be the likely killer who is allowed to walk free. The viewer should be left angry, shaken, and moved by this picture, with an ending that is not totally satisfying given the disturbing aspects the case leaves wide open despite having all the evidence it needs to send the real killer to jail. This is not a film that will leave you quickly, as once again the viewer should be left questioning the judicial system in this country and just how corrupt it remains to this day.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

A compelling documentary that gives a full look at the story of the West Memphis 3. As with the other documentary films about the subject I must warn you that it's not for the faint of heart. It deals with the murders of three young boys and crime scene photos are shown and they are graphic.
The bulk of the focus of this film in particular is on the innocence of the three young men accused and jailed for the crime. We take a look at the whole case and where it went very wrong from the beginning. It's a chilling tale of a witch hunt that landed these teens in prison for nearly two decades.
I highly recommend if you liked the work done in the Paradise Lost series of documentary films that brought world wide attention to this case.

Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

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