Magazine article Variety

Devil's Knot

Magazine article Variety

Devil's Knot

Article excerpt

FILM/TORONTO

DEVIL'S KNOT

The shocking 1993 murder of three 8-year-old boys in the Bible Belt town of West Memphis, Ark. - already exhaustively documented in four nonfiction features and multiple books - gets the star-studded "based on a true story" treatment in Atom Egoyan's "Devil's Knot." And while Egoyan and Co. are to be commended for doing a tactful, dignified job with material that could have made for a ghoulish horror show, the result nevertheless comes across as a flat, ponderous proposition, transforming a fascinating tale of small-town prejudice and miscarried justice into a surprisingly staid courtroom drama. Although the film is sure to generate healthy sales traffic on the presence of top-billed Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, the macabre subject seems unlikely to woo those stars' core date-night demographics, while audiences already familiar with the case will wonder what more they could possibly learn here. (The answer: not very much.)

On one level, it's puzzling as to why anyone thought this movie needed to be made, arriving as It does less than two years after documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Oscar-nominated "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," and less than one after Amy Berg's "West of Memphis," which flatlined at the box office despite the much-touted presence of Peter Jackson as executive producer. …

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