Devil's Knot – Im Schatten der Wahrheit (2013)

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Devil’s Knot – Im Schatten der Wahrheit: Directed by Atom Egoyan. With Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Alessandro Nivola, James Hamrick. The savage murders of three young children sparks a controversial trial of three teenagers accused of killing the kids as part of a Satanic ritual.

“There are very few instances in this world where the reality of the matter is more interesting than any form of fiction. Such is the case with Canadian director Atom Egoyanu0026#39;s newest film Devilu0026#39;s Knot. Gripping, chilling, and in many instances disturbing, the film is a mildly rewarding take on a story that doesnu0026#39;t need a feature film to highlight anymore high tension than it already has.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eTackling the very daunting task of offering new insight in the on-again/off-again case of the West Memphis murders, Devilu0026#39;s Knot is a short yet ample u0026quot;For Dummiesu0026quot; version film about a case that has been exhausted through documentaries (the Paradise Lost documentary film trilogy and West of Memphis) as well as various biographies, books and extensive media coverage.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eEgoyanu0026#39;s film, which is based on the book Devilu0026#39;s Knot by Mara Leveritt, is really the first high- profile film project (excluding Peter Jacksonu0026#39;s producing credit in West of Memphis) with A-List actors who paint a vivid picture of the people involved in the case, the victims and the u0026quot;accusedu0026quot;. From Reese Witherspoon to Colin Firth, the film is a by-the-numbers drama with sub-powerful performances that gives off a satisfactory feeling of relief; a relief that suffices only from the time you leave the theatre, to the time you get home and find out more about the case yourself.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film follows Ron Lax (Firth), a private investigator who decides to take on the West Memphis case pro-bono in what we understand to be the pursuit of a u0026quot;rightful convictionu0026quot;. Throughout his investigation, Lax uncovers numerous instances of judicial injustice, inconsistencies in the evidence, and improper police protocol that would have been crucial to solving the case and proving the innocence of the three young accused.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eEgoyan is no stranger to dramas centred around the tragedy of the loss of children, or innocence for that matter. It seems as though no one else could have adapted Leverittu0026#39;s book as throughly as him, yet Egoyanu0026#39;s vision is always second-string to the facts and the reality of the case itself. Often times veering in the direction of a u0026#39;made-for-televison filmu0026#39;, or treading the fine line of being a special episode on CSI or Law u0026amp; Order, the film is a washed out, third party perspective that attempts to be unbiased throughout, but still takes a strong side by the time the credits roll.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eMuch like the case itself, the film was able to round out a very high-profile group of individuals in front of the camera, especially given the small nature of the film and itu0026#39;s light $15 million budget. From Mireille Enos, Alessandro Nivola, Amy Ryan, Dane DeHaan, and Matt Letscher, to television stars Stephen Moyer and Martin Henderson, and Egoyan favourites Elias Koteas and Bruce Greenwood, the film is a star-studded festival entry despite itu0026#39;s surface level insight, cowardly execution and lack of style.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film succeeds when it trembles the notions of stereotypes and common, misunderstood motifs. Once tragedy struck, the town of West Memphis seemed to be content with the fact that Damien Echols (James Hamrick) and his two friends, Jessie Misskelley Jr. (Kristopher Higgins) and Jason Baldwin (Seth Meriwether), were accused of murder solely because they listened to heavy metal music and dressed in black. The film shows the ridiculousness of societyu0026#39;s stubborn ability to shed little light on the truth of misunderstood forms of art.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eSet within the small town, low income, u0026#39;Bible Beltu0026#39; of the United States, the film shows the very colourful contentions between the presence of the u0026quot;unholyu0026quot;, as well as how quick people are to vilify anything it doesnu0026#39;t understand, even if that means sentencing an innocent teenager to death. It is in the scenes where Lax investigates the facts that could potentially lead to these young menu0026#39;s freedom, that the film flourishes leaps and bounds. From unaccredited sources and not-so-expert witnesses, to completely fabricated testimonies, the film acts as Laxu0026#39;s own personal assistant, as he navigates a seamlessly normal town which actually might have a few skeletons in itu0026#39;s closet after all. The film shows just how convenient and perfect the outcasts of society, especially within the small Hillbilly pockets of the United States, really are.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHighlighting the ignorance of small-town Southern US communities, the laughable prediction amidst the accusations of alleged Satanic rituals, and giving a very graphic and unabridged look on how these innocent little boys were recovered from a lake (aptly titled the Devilu0026#39;s Den), Devilu0026#39;s Knot would have worked best as an HBO special. Instead it succeeds best as a visual piece of narrative whose greatest testament is allowing itu0026#39;s audience to indulge in shocking images and discomforting truths. Ironically enough, Devilu0026#39;s Knot is riveting most when no dialogue is spoken–in the scenes involving the search and discovery of the bodies and the reactions of the victimu0026#39;s parents, especially Witherspoonu0026#39;s. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eUpon conclusion, and much like the case itself, the film continues to insinuate that within the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas, everybody may be a real suspect in the unwarranted murder of three eight-year old boys. If anything, Devilu0026#39;s Knot is an appetizer size, introductory piece of narrative cinema that will surely serve as a catalyst for people to look into the complexity and uncertainty of one of Americau0026#39;s most misunderstood and poorly investigated murder cases of all time.”

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