West of Memphis

2012

West of Memphis

Critics 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.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 113

87%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,797

TOMATOMETER

N/A
All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0

AUDIENCE SCORE

87%
Average Rating: 4.1/5

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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 Site

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Critic Reviews for West of Memphis

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (29)

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

    Apr 5, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • We feel like we're watching an overlong true-crime television episode and not a movie.

    Mar 21, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • A real-life horror story, made no less shocking by the familiarity of its early scenes.

    Mar 14, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • 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.

    Mar 14, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • And justice for all? Hardly.

    Feb 21, 2013 | Rating: 3/4
  • 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.

    Feb 8, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for West of Memphis

½

As a fourth documentary about the subject, it does feel like a condensed (and, to be honest, unnecessary and jumpier) version of the other three, doing a decent job examining the case but not offering that much beyond what we have learned from watching the Paradise Lost films.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

½

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
Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

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