• R, 2 hr. 26 min.
  • Documentary
  • Directed By:
    Amy Berg
    In Theaters:
    Dec 25, 2012 Limited
    On DVD:
    Aug 6, 2013
  • Sony Pictures Classics

Opening

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West of Memphis Reviews

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

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B+

April 5, 2013
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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We feel like we're watching an overlong true-crime television episode and not a movie.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 2/4

March 21, 2013
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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A real-life horror story, made no less shocking by the familiarity of its early scenes.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 14, 2013
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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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 Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 14, 2013
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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A true-crime story that begins with a notorious murder case and grows into a chilling indictment of the American justice system.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 7, 2013
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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And justice for all? Hardly.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

February 21, 2013
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
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It tells the story of a terrible crime compounded by a grave injustice that's been remedied, but only in part, so it's impossible to have a single or simple response to the movie.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

February 8, 2013
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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What sets this film apart from previous efforts to document the story is that Jackson and Walsh financed a private investigative team with legal and forensic experts who re-examined old evidence, conducted new interviews and found new witnesses.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

February 1, 2013
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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Happy, sad, inspiring, infuriating, right and terribly wrong, all at the same time.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 3/4

January 25, 2013
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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Berg's film is as much an indictment of the state of Arkansas' legal system as it is the prosecution.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

January 24, 2013
John Anderson
Newsday
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Berg's film helps illuminate a case that should certainly be the shame of the state of Arkansas, and perhaps the criminal justice system of the entire United States.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 17, 2013
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Dubious evidence; suspicious confessions; conveniently located "poor white trash" (Echols' words) to take the rap: The case stank from the beginning, Berg's film argues.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

January 17, 2013
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
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Less an investigative report than a portrait of the community that forms around an ongoing court case, this conveys a patient understanding of the intricacies of law and human behavior that may be termed Kieslowskian.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

January 17, 2013
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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"West of Memphis" is the fourth film about one of the most heinous cases of wrongful conviction in American judicial history. Do we need a fourth film? Yes, I think we do.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

January 17, 2013
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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It artfully sketches out the events for anyone who's coming in cold, but basically, its strategy is to take what we already know and go deeper.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A-

January 9, 2013
Mark Jenkins
NPR
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It took way too long, but the crowd finally bested the mob.

Full Review Source: NPR

December 27, 2012
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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Take this as ultimately more personal journal than investigation.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2/5

December 25, 2012
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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The film is inspiring because it has a semi-happy ending attached to a love story.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

December 25, 2012
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Even if you already know the eventual outcome, the suspense as the three convicts file a last-ditch appeal is excruciating.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3/4

December 24, 2012
David Germain
Associated Press
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"West of Memphis" is nonfiction filmmaking at its best, a film with a fierce point of view yet one that doesn't pretend to have all the answers or a monopoly on truth.

Full Review Source: Associated Press | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 21, 2012
Sara Stewart
New York Post
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This is a compelling and comprehensive guide to one of the most Kafkaesque crime stories in American history.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 21, 2012
Sam Adams
Time Out New York
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It's hard to imagine how someone could study this case for so long and yet miss its most critical lesson.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/5

December 18, 2012
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
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This is a movie that can stun you.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 18, 2012
Linda Holmes
NPR
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While West Of Memphis won't surprise anyone who's followed the case, it does play its own role, particularly in illuminating how unsatisfying the end of the story really was.

Full Review Source: NPR

September 7, 2012
John Anderson
Variety
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[A] first-rate investigative docu on the notorious West Memphis Three case, its questionable prosecution and its dubious resolution.

Full Review Source: Variety

January 24, 2012
Noel Murray
AV Club
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Shows how our advocacy model of trial law can lead to the state spinning stories they know are probably untrue, and then using their authority to stand strong against any alternate theory, no matter how many millions of people believe it.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B

January 22, 2012
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
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Thorny, blood-boiling and finely made, it deserves a theatrical push.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

January 20, 2012
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