Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon headline the trailer for Devil's Knot
Chances are you are already familiar with the story of the West Memphis Three via the brilliant Joe Berlinger PARADISE LOST documentaries or the Peter Jackson produced WEST OF MEMPHIS. The tragic story of three murdered kids and their accused killers was a national story involving rumors of Satanic cults. Three years ago, the imprisoned men found guilty of the slayings were set free but rumors still exist to this day as to what actually happened. Sounds like the perfect plot for a movie, doesn't it?
Director Atom Egoyan has helmed a dramatized take on the West Memphis Three story titled DEVIL'S KNOT and we now have a look at the first trailer. Starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, the trailer makes the film look both like a made for Lifetime original movie and the kind of Oscar bait I absolutely hate. Watching this, I cannot tell if the acting here is good or over the top. Check it out yourself and see if you agree.
In 1993, in the lower-class community of West Memphis, Arkansas, three eight-year-old boys Stevie Branch (Jurgensmeyer), Christopher Byers (Spink), and Michael Moore (Boardman Jr.) go missing from their neighborhood. After an extensive search, their bound and beaten bodies are found the next day. The community and the police department are convinced that the murders are the work of a satanic cult due to the violent and sexual natures of the crime. A month later, three teenagers Damien Echols (Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Meriwether), and Jessie Misskelley Jr. (Higgins) are arrested after Misskelley confesses after approximately four hours of interrogation. They are taken to trial where Baldwin and Misskelley are sentenced to life and Echols to death all while still claiming they're innocent.
It is hard to argue with a cast this good. Witherspoon is bordering on overacting here but I love the supporting players including Amy Ryan, Bruce Greenwood, Dane DeHaan, Elias Koteas, Mireille Enos, and Stephen Moyer. Even director Egoyan has turned in some good movies like FELICIA'S JOURNEY, ARARAT, and CHLOE, but this trailer gives me the distinct impression that the movie is trying too hard to send a message and, therefore, loses the purpose of telling such a powerful story. Our very own Chris Bumbray seemed to feel the same way when he reviewed the film back at the Toronto International Film Festival.
DEVIL'S KNOT will hit VOD and theaters on May 9, 2014.