Synopsis by Tom Wiener
Following their acclaimed documentary about a controversial death in a small town, Brother's Keeper, filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, explore another criminal case with even more complex strands. When the mutilated corpses of three eight-year-old boys are found near a wooded stream in West Memphis, AR, suspicion falls on a trio of young men, Jessie Miskelly Jr., Jason Baldwin, and Damian Wayne Echols. Stories that the men listened to hard rock music and fashioned themselves satanists fueled speculation of their involvement in the crime. Unlike Brother's Keeper, in which the citizens of the upstate New York town rallied to protect one of its own, an elderly man accused of killing one of his siblings, Paradise Lost portrays West Memphis as split on the question of guilt. Berlinger and Sinofsky offer equal time to both sides, but as this long and absorbing film rolls on, it becomes clear that they're skeptical of the prosecution's case, especially because it rests so heavily on an confession extracted from the mentally challenged Miskelly, and suspicious of the stepfather of one of the victims, who seems to relish the spotlight a bit too much. Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, a sequel, follows the case deeper into the appeals process.
castration, conviction, killing, mental-retardation, murder, mutilation, ritual, teenagers