Learn About West of Memphis Before Its Christmas Day Release
West of Memphis - an examination of a failure of justice in the case against the West Memphis Three - hits New York on Christmas day. Peter Jackson's best know for his Tolkien adaptions, most recently, The Hobbit, so you'd be forgiven for not know much about this explorative documentary.
Funded by Jackson and Fran Walsh, and directed by Amy Berg, West of Memphis tells the tale of West Memphis Three: three men (Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jr. Jason Baldwin), who were tried and convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. They were later released on suspended sentences, after entering Alford please, which allow them to assert their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. It's confusing, we know, but essentially, years of protests, and fresh DNA evidence, which gradually weakened the initial conviction, lead to their release after over 18 years spent in prison. Damien Echols, who was on Death Row, helped produce the film.
Speaking in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jackson has opened up on the doc: "It's like a fly-on-the-wall kind of movie but you come away with the strong feeling that justice is derailed as a train wreck," he said. "It makes you angry. Fran and I went on the Internet to look and see how the case had ended. We were pretty horrified to find that Damien, Jason and Jessie were still in jail, but also, appeals had happened and been denied."