West of Memphis – LFF Review

West of Memphis is a meticulously detailed documentary focussing on the 1993 murder of three young boys which lead to the arrest and prosecution of three teenage boys. Over the years doubt has been shed on their convictions, the nature of the murders, and whether officials rushed to conviction for political gain.

The documentary takes a chronological approach and allows the story to unfold as it did in real life. At the start of the film I was convinced that the “West Memphis Three” had killed three boys in the form of a cult ritual but by the end was almost in tears at the idea that they might get released.

Director Amy Berg has made a compelling and persuasive film which gently guides you to reach a definitive conclusion over who killed the boys. There is no narration so it is left to those involved in the case to explain what happened in their opinion, offer expert witness, and incriminate themselves with their own testimony. One political figure received nervous laughter when weakly defending his opinion that the West Memphis Three had committed the crimes.

Not knowing anything about the case (having been aged six at the time of the original trials) I was taken on the full journey; every twist a surprise and my opinion ready to flip all over the place.

Whatever you know already about the case West of Memphis is a gripping documentary about justice that makes the most of its two and a half hour running time and was equally uplifting, frustrating, and fascinating.