The Scoop: 2000 documentary, directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.
Summary Capsule: As though a triple homicide and a possible miscarriage of justice weren’t enough. We have to go back to Arkansas too?
Clare’s rating: Thought Paradise Lost was riveting? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Clare’s review: The second installment of the Paradise Lost documentaries, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, picks up a few years after the convictions of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley have been handed down. The gawky teenagers of the first film have turned into young men behind bars who are all coping differently with life in prison. We also find out what happened to the murder victims’ families and are shown new evidence that could possibly allow the prisoners the opportunity for a new trial.
The majority of the film is dedicated to chronicling the activities of the Free the West Memphis 3 Support Fund, a group dedicated to cataloging all of the factual evidence, information, transcripts and testimony of the first trials and making them public knowledge. The information they’ve accumulated is vast, factually accurate and, to say the least, compelling. Their efforts to push for a retrial comes into sharp conflict with both the feelings of the victims’ families and the pride of police and attorneys associated with the first trial who are steadfastly determined that no errors were made. While the first film may have left viewers feeling uneasy about the course of the trial and the way practically every aspect of this event went down, the follow up installment is a veritable boxing match of new information, alternative scenarios, possible injustice and, as the title says, a whole slew of revelations about the relationships of the people we met in the first film. I felt unsettled after seeing the first film. After the second installment I felt even more shaken. Certainly your response to these films may not be the same as mine, but they’re absolutely worth a look just to try to piece together what you think may have happened to three innocent kids in rural Arkansas nearly a decade ago. Both films are now available for purchase on line and can be found in most video stores that don’t totally suck. I highly recommend you gander.
- Follows Paradise Lost : The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills.
- Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory chronicles the release of the West Memphis Three in 2011 following the emergence of new evidence and a subsequent ‘Alford plea’ (where you plead guilty while maintaining your innocence, e.g. “While I am entirely innocent, you have enough evidence to convict me, therefore I am entering a guilty plea so as not to possibly receive a harsher sentence later.”)
If you enjoyed this, try:
- One for Ten
- Brother’s Keeper
- Gray Matter