Mid-Day Mini ~ Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

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The Facts:

Synopsis: A further investigation into the arrest of three teenagers convicted of killing three young boys in Arkansas who spent nearly 20 years in prison before being released after new DNA evidence indicated they may be innocent.

Stars: Gary Gitchell, Jessie Misskelley, Damien Wayne Echols, Jason Baldwin

Director: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

Rated: NR

Running Length: 121 minutes

TMMM Score: (8/10)

Review:  The final chapter of the groundbreaking series of films that explored the infamous slayings of three children in Arkansas, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory is just as involving as its two predecessors.  Watched as a whole, the three films capture nearly an entire generation of material and it’s an excellent examination of the breakdown of the criminal justice system.  You couldn’t dream up some of the twists and turns this case has taken over the years and if this Oscar nominated entry is less surprising than the first two, it’s only because the focus here is on recent developments in the case that eventually frees the men who spent over half their lives behind bars.  A new documentary from Peter Jackson, West of Memphis, is out now and a film version is in the works – though it’s hard to imagine anything quite as powerful as what the Paradise Lost films have accomplished.

The Silver Bullet ~ West of Memphis

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Synopsis: An examination of a failure of justice in the case against the West Memphis Three.

Release Date:  December 25, 2012

Thoughts: Though the case of the West Memphis Three has been well-documented in the three Paradise Lost films, West of Memphis presents another look into the devious child murders that rocked a small town and the witch hunt that saw three men on the cusp of adulthood and the wrong side of the tracks be targeted as the culprits.  Produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, West of Memphis looks to be another strong documentary arriving in theaters just in time to provide strong true crime counter-programming to the usual holiday fare.  Sign me up.