Devil’s Knot

SHARE

(2013) ★★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 1 May, 11.45am

“Three dead kids is enough…” Private investigator Colin Firth offers his services to the Arkansas lawyers defending three West Memphis teenagers accused of killing three young boys in the woods of Robin Hood Hills in May 1993. The state is pushing for the death penalty. In a case ringing with satanic panic and lynch-mob vengeance. Where the evidence simply doesn’t make sense. Critics were sniffy about Atom Egoyan’s film, probably because it’s a story that’s been told many times over, most notably in the Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries – The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996), Revelations (2000) and Purgatory (2011) – and by West of Memphis (2012), the latter two made when teenagers Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley were released from prison, 18 years after their conviction. Critics may pat ourselves on the back for sitting through that little lot, but this is a story that stands telling again. Especially when you have a couple of Oscar-winners at your disposal (Firth is joined by Reese Witherspoon as the understandably distressed mother of one of the victims). And because grave miscarriages of justice should never be forgotten. The murders are disturbing, three little schoolboys hogtied, mutilated and drowned in a creek. But the subsequent Crucible-style trial is a disgrace, carrying strong echoes of another witchhunt, California’s scandalous McMartin court case in the 80s (James Woods starred in the 1995 TV movie, Indictment). Guilty of being Metallica fans, the boys on trial in Arkansas weren’t suspects, they were targets. Nothing linked them to the crime scene. The only surprise is that they weren’t burned alive on the courthouse steps. An occasionally clumsy, button-pushing script means that Egoyan’s steady, TV-friendly film doesn’t rank alongside his best work in Exotica, Felicia’s Journey and The Sweet Hereafter. But it’s surely worth reiterating time and again that it’s still possible to gain convictions on coached and contradictory testimony that’s lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 114min

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 2 May at 00:15
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 2 May at 11:45
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 3 May at 00:15
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 3 May at 11:50
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 3 May at 22:30
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 4 May at 11:40
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 4 May at 22:30
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 5 May at 09:35
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 6 May at 00:15
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 6 May at 11:40
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 7 May at 00:15
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 7 May at 11:40
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 7 May at 22:30
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 25 April at 13:45
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 26 April at 06:00
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 26 April at 12:30
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 27 April at 08:00
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 27 April at 14:15
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 28 April at 06:00
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 28 April at 14:15
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 29 April at 06:00
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 29 April at 12:30
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 30 April at 06:00
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 30 April at 14:15