Tuesday, October 18, 2011
10-17-11: Paradise at what cost?
PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY (2011) **** D: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky.
In 1993, three 8 year old boys were murdered in the backwoods of an Arkansas town. Three teenagers were arrested and charged with the murders. In 1994, they were tried and convicted and have been in prison ever since.
1996's "Paradise Lost" looked at the case as it happened and left a very clear impression that there was something wrong here and that these boys may very well be innocent of these crimes.
2000's "Paradise Lost 2" looks at the presented evidence and drives trucks through the countless evident holes in the prosecution's case against the West Memphis Three. The directors moved from filmmakers to advocates for their release. This film brings up questions about the stepfather of one of the murdered children.
2011's "Paradise Lost 3" picks up the story when new evidence was presented in 2007. Thanks to the advances in forensic science, evidence that was unattainable then was available now. The film looks the new evidence and the impact it will have on their case.
The film expertly recaps the first two films while delving into how the new evidence paints a different picture that would hopefully lead to their release.
Events that transpired in the two previous films are turned on their ear as the new evidence points in a different direction that the filmmakers and viewers never considered.
As a whole, the trilogy looks at how broken the justice system is and how one individual can have undo influence on a trial because of their ultimate ambitions or blinded by their egos. It's a resounding testament that all levels of law enforcement and criminal justice should be forced to watch.
While the outcome is a good one, it still leaves a bitter aftertaste because justice still had not been served. Not for the victims and not for the West Memphis Three.