West of Memphis (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

West of Memphis2012

West of Memphis (2012)



Critic Consensus: Both a sobering look at a true crime story and a scathing indictment of the American justice system, West of Memphis is a real-life horror story told with fury and compassion.

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Movie Info

From director Amy Berg, in collaboration with first time Producers Damien Echols and Lorri Davis along with filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh comes West of Memphis, a powerful examination of a catastrophic failure of justice in Arkansas. The documentary tells the hitherto unknown story behind an extraordinary and desperate fight to bring the truth to light. Told and made by those who lived it, Berg's unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defense, allows the film to show the investigation, research and appeals process in a way that has never been seen before; revealing shocking and disturbing new information about a case that still haunts the American South. -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for West of Memphis

All Critics (116) | Top Critics (31)

It's not a new story, true, but "West of Memphis" makes it both extremely personal and universally painful.

April 5, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

We feel like we're watching an overlong true-crime television episode and not a movie.

March 21, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

A real-life horror story, made no less shocking by the familiarity of its early scenes.

March 14, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4

While the "Paradise Lost" films captured events as they unfolded in the heat of battle, "West of Memphis" has the luxury of at least partial closure.

March 14, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

And justice for all? Hardly.

February 21, 2013 | Rating: 3/4

It tells the story of a terrible crime compounded by a grave injustice that's been remedied, but only in part, so it's impossible to have a single or simple response to the movie.

February 8, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for West of Memphis


As a fourth documentary about the subject, it does feel like a condensed (and, to be honest, unnecessary and jumpier) version of the other three, doing a decent job examining the case but not offering that much beyond what we have learned from watching the Paradise Lost films.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Oddly enough, Mr. Bojangles is spared of any footage whatsoever!! Leans the guilt on Terry Hobbs as Paradise Lost 2 did to Mark Byers. Offers nothing deep, instead only Depp.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer


An absolutely devastating documentary concerning three eight-year old boys killed in Arkansas in 1993, and how the judicial system pushed ahead on guilty verdicts for three teenage boys despite having no concrete evidence whatsoever, bullying their way to the decision they wanted all along. When new evidence is presented and a new suspect emerges out from amongst the dark shadows of the wooded area behind a trailer park where these murders took place, the case is examined more carefully as these now three young men wait for freedom. This is a powerful, monumental picture in the vein of "The Thin Blue Line" in how it effectively shows how the case was so horribly mishandled, then presenting a viable suspect who appears to be the likely killer who is allowed to walk free. The viewer should be left angry, shaken, and moved by this picture, with an ending that is not totally satisfying given the disturbing aspects the case leaves wide open despite having all the evidence it needs to send the real killer to jail. This is not a film that will leave you quickly, as once again the viewer should be left questioning the judicial system in this country and just how corrupt it remains to this day.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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