Devil's Knot (film)
|Directed by||Atom Egoyan|
|Based on||Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three
by Mara Leveritt
|Music by||Mychael Danna|
|Editing by||Susan Shipton|
|Running time||114 minutes|
Devil's Knot is a 2013 biographical crime-drama thriller film directed by Atom Egoyan. The film is based on a true story as told in Mara Leveritt's 2002 book of the same name, concerning three teenagers known as the West Memphis Three, who were convicted for killing three young boys and subsequently sentenced to life in prison. The movie was produced by Paul Harris Boardman, Elizabeth Fowler, Clark Peterson, Richard Saperstein and Christopher Woodrow, and stars Reese Witherspoon, Kevin Durand, Stephen Moyer, Colin Firth, Elias Koteas and Bruce Greenwood. The movie's world premiere was held at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2013; this was to be followed by a wider release later in the year. The film had a limited release in Canadian theatres on January 24, 2014, and will be released in U.S. theaters and Video on demand services on May 9, 2014.
In 1993, in the working class community of West Memphis, Arkansas, three eight-year-old boys – Stevie Branch (Jurgensmeyer), Christopher Byers (Spink), and Michael Moore (Boardman Jr.) – go missing from their neighborhood. After an extensive search, their bound and beaten bodies are found the next day. The community and the police department are convinced that the murders are the work of a satanic cult due to the violent and sexual natures of the crime. A month later, three teenagers – Damien Echols (Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Meriwether), and Jessie Misskelley Jr. (Higgins) – are arrested after Misskelley confesses after approximately four hours of interrogation. They are taken to trial where Baldwin and Misskelley are sentenced to life and Echols to death all while still claiming they're innocent.
On May 5, 1993, three eight-year-olds (Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore) went missing from their neighborhood in West Memphis, Arkansas. After an extensive search, their bound and beaten bodies were found the next day. The religious community and small police department were convinced that the murders were the work of a satanic cult due to the violent and sexual natures of the crime. A month later, three teenagers (eighteen-year-old Damien Echols, sixteen-year-old Jason Baldwin, and seventeen-year-old Jessie Misskelley Jr.) were arrested after Misskelley, who was mentally handicapped, confessed after four hours of interrogation. Despite the lack of evidence connecting them to the crimes, they were convicted; Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life and Echols to death. All three maintained their innocence and hired forensic experts and investigators to re-examine the evidence, which eventually lent credibility to their innocence. The new evidence uncovered new unidentified DNA and several hairs, one of which tied Branch's stepfather to the murders. This earned them powerful support, including celebrities and even the parents of two of the murdered children. Despite this, their appeals were rejected by a judge and state prosecutors.
In August, 2011, after eighteen years of incarceration, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted an evidential hearing and had a new judge determine if the new evidence entitled the three men to a new trial. On August 19, 2011, they were allowed to walk free after they reached an agreement with prosecutors. They gave "Alford pleas" in exchange for time served and were allowed to walk free. To date, they are working towards a full exoneration and have vowed to find the real murderer of the three children.
- Reese Witherspoon as Pamela Hobbs, mother of Stevie Branch
- Mireille Enos as Vicki Hutcheson, a new resident of West Memphis who plays a part in the arrest of the three boys
- Colin Firth as Ron Lax, private investigator
- Dane DeHaan as Chris Morgan, suspect who was detained for questioning
- Kevin Durand as John Mark Byers, adoptive father of Christopher Byers
- Bruce Greenwood as Judge David Burnett, original judge of the trial
- Stephen Moyer as John Fogelman, deputy prosecuting attorney
- Elias Koteas as Jerry Driver, Echols' parole officer
- Amy Ryan as Margaret Lax, wife of Ron Lax
- Alessandro Nivola as Terry Hobbs, step-father of Stevie Branch
- Jonathan Spencer as Examiner
- Gary Grubbs as Dale Griffis, self-proclaimed cult expert
- Martin Henderson as Brent Davis
- Collette Wolfe as Gloria Shettles, investigator for Echols' defense team
- Kristoffer Polaha as Val Price, the public defender
- Rex Linn as Inspector Gary Gitchell, the lead West Memphis investigator
- Matt Letscher as Paul Ford, Baldwin's attorney
- Michael Gladis as Dan Stidham, Misskelley's lawyer
- Brian Howe as Detective McDonough
- Robert Baker as Police Lieutenant Bryn Ridge, detective who discovered the clothes of the missing boys
- Wilbur Fitzgerald as Tom
- Anessa Ramsey as Rosie
- Jet Jurgensmeyer as Stevie Branch, one of the victims
- Kristopher Higgins as Jessie Misskelley Jr., one of the suspects
- Ted Huckabee as Officer Steve Jones
- James Hamrick as Damien Echols, one of the suspects
- Kerry Cahill as Jo Lynn, aunt of Stevie Branch
- Seth Meriwether as Jason Baldwin, one of the suspects
- Lori Beth Edgeman as Annie
- Julie Ivey as Sharon Melissa Byers, mother of Christopher Byers
- Christian Higgins as Deputy Sheriff Angelo
- Brooke Jaye Taylor as Officer Regina Meek, officer who took Mark Byers formal missing person's report
- Matthew Stanton as Detective Bill Durham, issued the polygraph test to the three teens
- Brandon Carroll as Bobby DeAngelo, later a suspect in the murders
- Brandon Spink as Christopher Byers, one of the victims
- Clay Stapleford as Sgt. Mike Allen, detective who discovered the bodies of the missing boys
- Stan Houston as Det. Donald Bray, Detective for the Marion Police Department
- Stephanie Stewart as Domini Teer, Echols new and pregnant girlfriend
- Isabella Zentkovich as Amanda Hobbs, four-year-old stepsister of Stevie Branch
- Corey James Wright as Robert Richman
- Bill Murphey as Marty King, manager of the Robin Hood Hills Bojangles' Restaurant
- Paul Boardman Jr. as Michael Moore, one of the victims
- Jack Coghlan as Aaron Hutcheson, eight-year-old son of Vicki Hutcheson
- Lindsey Moser as Ms. Wilson, Stevie Branch's Teacher
- Kasen Hay as Stevie Branch Stunt double #1
- Parker Teems as Stevie Branch Stunt double #2
- Holly Firfer as Reporter
- Kennedy Brice as Classmate
Colin Firth was confirmed to have joined the cast on May 21, 2012. More casting announcements were made on June 27, 2012. The film is being produced by Elizabeth Fowler, Richard Saperstein, Clark Peterson, Paul Harris Boardman, and Christopher Woodrow, and the screenplay was written by Boardman and Scott Derrickson. The first image from the set was revealed on June 26, 2012.
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