West of Memphis - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

West of Memphis Reviews

Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
April 5, 2013
It's not a new story, true, but "West of Memphis" makes it both extremely personal and universally painful.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 21, 2013
We feel like we're watching an overlong true-crime television episode and not a movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
March 14, 2013
A real-life horror story, made no less shocking by the familiarity of its early scenes.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 14, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 7, 2013
A true-crime story that begins with a notorious murder case and grows into a chilling indictment of the American justice system.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
February 21, 2013
And justice for all? Hardly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
February 8, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
February 1, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
January 25, 2013
Happy, sad, inspiring, infuriating, right and terribly wrong, all at the same time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
January 24, 2013
Berg's film is as much an indictment of the state of Arkansas' legal system as it is the prosecution.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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John Anderson
Newsday
January 17, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
January 17, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
January 17, 2013
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.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 17, 2013
"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 | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 9, 2013
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 | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
December 27, 2012
It took way too long, but the crowd finally bested the mob.
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
December 25, 2012
Take this as ultimately more personal journal than investigation.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
December 25, 2012
The film is inspiring because it has a semi-happy ending attached to a love story.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 24, 2012
Even if you already know the eventual outcome, the suspense as the three convicts file a last-ditch appeal is excruciating.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
December 21, 2012
"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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Sara Stewart
New York Post
December 21, 2012
This is a compelling and comprehensive guide to one of the most Kafkaesque crime stories in American history.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Sam Adams
Time Out
December 18, 2012
It's hard to imagine how someone could study this case for so long and yet miss its most critical lesson.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
December 18, 2012
This is a movie that can stun you.
Top Critic
September 7, 2012
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.
Top Critic
John Anderson
Variety
January 24, 2012
[A] first-rate investigative docu on the notorious West Memphis Three case, its questionable prosecution and its dubious resolution.
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
January 22, 2012
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 | Original Score: B
Top Critic
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
January 20, 2012
Thorny, blood-boiling and finely made, it deserves a theatrical push.