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The Boston Globe



‘West of Memphis’ gets close to closure

Why would you need to watch Amy Berg’s “West of Memphis” when the trilogy of “Paradise Lost” documentaries, made by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky over 15 years, has so thoroughly parsed the case of the West Memphis Three?

For a couple of reasons. By the time of 2011’s Oscar-nominated “Paradise Lost: Purgatory,” Berlinger and Sinofsky had themselves become part of the story, their films in large part responsible for attracting the attention of the media and heavy-hitter celebrities to the miscarriage of justice that landed Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley in jail for murders that most people now believe they didn’t commit. A set of fresh eyes is welcome and even necessary. Most important, 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. Berg, who took on pedophile priests in “Deliver Us From Evil” (2006), stands back to take the measure of the whole story, letting its entire awful shape come into focus.

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