Devil's Knot

"Very Good"

Devil's Knot Review


Based on the events documented in West of Memphis and the Paradise Lost trilogy, this drama takes an almost clinical approach to the story. By filling in so many details and covering so many perspectives, skilled Canadian director Atom Egoyan sometimes loses the emotional connection, simply because there are too many punches to the gut. But it's utterly riveting.

The events took place in 1993 in rural West Memphis, Arkansas. After three 8-year-old boys go missing, suspicion immediately falls on four goth 16-year-olds: Chris (Dane DeHaan) has just left town, but the fiercely charismatic Damien (James Hamrick), hapless Jason (Seth Meriwether) and mentally disabled Jesse (Kristopher Higgens) are arrested and charged with murder. The victims' parents (including Reese Witherspoon, Alessandro Nivola and Kevin Durand) band together in outrage. But private investigator Ron (Colin Firth) thinks the police have wrongly accused these teens of being killers.

The story is a shocking account of a miscarriage of justice, as the community turns on kids who simply look a bit funny and the police and judicial authorities refuse to admit that they may have made some serious mistakes. The rush to judgement is terrifying, accompanied with explanations that falsely link the teens to satanic rituals and death-metal music. Egoyan cleverly builds a sense of outrage from the start, as the film mourns not only the young boys' death but also the horror of carelessly ruining three innocent teens' lives in response.

Within this atmosphere, the cast members all give wrenchingly realistic performances. The film's attention to detail makes everyone complex and shaded, and Witherspoon's role is the most interesting in this sense, as we watch her character make a major shift. By contrast, Firth's performance is a steady depiction of disbelief that no one seems to care that they're on the wrong track. All of this is so carefully documented on-screen that it can't help but feel a little anticlimactic in the end, accompanied by several screens of explanatory text. But it's a beautifully truthful retelling of an important event, and it reveals some urgent, troubling facts about American culture.

Watch 'Devil's Knot' Trailer



Devil's Knot

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 12th March 2014

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: RLJ/Image Entertainment

Production compaines: Worldview Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 65

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Elizabeth Fowler, Clark Peterson, Richard Saperstein, Christopher Woodrow

Starring: as Pam Hobbs, as Ron Lax, as Vicki Hutcherson, as John Fogelman, as John Mark Byers, as Glori Shettles, as Jerry Driver, as Judge David Burnett, as Margaret Lax, as Terry Hobbs, as Brent Davis, as Chris Morgan

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