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Devil's Knot

Devil's Knot

4.0 1
Director: Atom Egoyan

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Amy Ryan


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Director Atom Egoyan adapts journalist Mara Leveritt non-fiction book to the screen in this docudrama centered on the investigation into the notorious West Memphis Three case (previously the subject of filmmaker Joe Berlinger's Paradise Lost documentaries). Centered on


Director Atom Egoyan adapts journalist Mara Leveritt non-fiction book to the screen in this docudrama centered on the investigation into the notorious West Memphis Three case (previously the subject of filmmaker Joe Berlinger's Paradise Lost documentaries). Centered on the investigation conducted by private detective Ron Lax (Colin Firth), The Devil's Knot details the discovery of crucial DNA evidence that helped to win back the freedom of Arkansas teens Damien Echols, James Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr., who were accused of ritualistically murdering three young boys in 1993. Stephen Moyer and Reese Witherspoon co-star.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Steve Branch, Chris Byers, and James Moore were three eight-year-olds who became murder victims. Their names are not nearly as well-known as Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, the young men -- known as the West Memphis Three -- who served 17 years in prison after being convicted, most likely wrongly, of the crime. The case drew a great deal of attention for how the trio of defendants were railroaded, but the better parts of Atom Egoyan's docudrama Devil's Knot focus on the families of the deceased. Reese Witherspoon plays Steve Branch's mother Pam, who is overcome with grief after the murder of her son. She is lost in a haze after this tragic turn of events, and only starts to come around after Ron Lax (Colin Firth), a private investigator working pro bono for the defense team, begins to unearth a number of discrepancies and deceptions in the state's case. There seems to be more than enough evidence to raise a reasonable doubt and acquit the three defendants, but the powers that be continually prevent these facts from being heard by the jury. Pam soon begins to question her own beliefs about what happened to her son. Why does her husband have Stevie's favorite knife? Who was the mysterious, bloodied black man who showed up and quickly disappeared from a fast-food place near the crime scene on the night of the murder? Why doesn't the jury know that another teen also confessed to the crime? At the same time, Ron works tirelessly to locate the proof that will get the three young men acquitted. Egoyan already made one of the definitive portraits of grief with his film The Sweet Hereafter, in which an entire community is rocked by the tragic deaths of a number of kids in a school-bus accident. The first 20 minutes of Devil's Knot lead you to believe that he's going to take the same approach with this movie, exploring how a horrific crime alters a small town, but instead he stays focused on how one woman deals with such a profound and sudden loss. There are scenes -- like the one in which Pam sees a completed but ungraded homework assignment by her dead son and drives to the school so that his teacher, who at that moment is dealing with a roomful of Stevie's former classmates, can grade it -- that border on manipulative. Yet Witherspoon is admirably restrained throughout, and Egoyan's typically cerebral direction keeps us at a distance from the hurt and pain --- he doesn't add any unnecessary pathos -- even as he shows Pam's suffering clearly. Only at the very end, in a golden-toned final shot of the victims as they make their way to the murder site (while text informs us that the movie is dedicated to Steve, Chris, and James), does Egoyan twist the emotional knife. The West Memphis Three have already been the subject of three peerless documentaries by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, as well as the nonfiction film West of Memphis, made with the cooperation of Damien Echols. Those pictures all provide a much more substantive overview of the case than Devil's Knot does: Egoyan's by-the-numbers movie might be fascinating to viewers unfamiliar with the controversy, but as it evolves into a straightforward courtroom tale, it will be tedious to those who have seen the earlier documentaries.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Image Entertainment
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Special Features

The making of Devil's Knot; Getting into character: the cast of Devil's Knot; Deleted Scenes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Reese Witherspoon Pam Hobbs
Colin Firth Ron Lax
Amy Ryan Margaret Lax
Mireille Enos Vicki Hutcheson
Stephen Moyer John Fogleman
Alessandro Nivola Terry Hobbs
Dane DeHaan Chris Morgan
James Hamrick Damien Echols
Seth Meriwether Jason Baldwin
Kris Higgins Jessie Misskelley
Robert Baker Detective Bryn Ridge
Collette Wolfe Glori Shettles
Rex Linn Chief Inspector Gitchell
Bruce Greenwood Judge Burnett
Kristoffer Polaha Val Price
Matt Letscher Paul Ford
Michael Gladis Dan Stidham
Martin Henderson Brent Davis
Ted Huckabee Steve Jones
Elias Koteas Jerry Driver
Kerry Cahill Jo Lynn
Jet Jurgensmeyer Stevie Branch
Paul Boardman Michael Moore
Julie Ivey Melissa Byers
Lori Beth Edgeman Annie
Gary Grubbs Dale Griffis
Stan Houston Detective Donald Bray
Matt Stanton Detective Durham
Brian Howe Detective McDonough
Clay Stapleford Detective Mike Allen
Stephanie Steward Domini Teer
Bill Murphey Marty King
Brooke Jaye Taylor Officer Regina Meeks
Isabella Zentkovich Amanda Hobbs
Quincey Bonds Court Officer
Morgan Pelligrino Reporter at Court House
Arvell Poe Bloody Muddy Man
Brandon Carroll Bobby DeAngelo
Haley Craft Teenage Employee
Amber Chaney Older Employee
Scott Poythress Criminalist
Judd Derek Lormand Desk Officer
Corey Wright HBO Cameraman
Katie Kneeland Ron's Secretary
Annabel Lawton Boardman Girl on Stand #1
Abigail Monet Girl on Stand #2
Carolyn Etheridge Girl at Weaver
Brandon Wood Trailer Park Teen #1
Joey Nappo Trailer Park Teen #2
David Ramsey Baptist Preacher
Lindsey N. Moser Teacher at Weaver
Chase Crandell Marion High School Boy
Stephanie Astalos-Jones Marion High School Teacher
Orelon Sidney Memphis TV Reporter
Brandon Spink Chris Byers
Ron Clinton Smith Police Sergeant
Jonathan Splencer Polygraph Examiner
Anessa Ramsey Rosie
Gary Weeks TV Reporter at Weaver
Holly Firfer Tabloid Reporter
Thomas Strickland Lawyer

Technical Credits
Atom Egoyan Director
Armen Aghaeian Co-producer
David Alper Executive Producer
Deborah Aquila Casting
Jason Baldwin Executive Producer
Holly Ballard Executive Producer
Phillip Barker Production Designer
Paul Harris Boardman Producer,Screenwriter
Amanda Bowers Associate Producer
Maria Cestone Executive Producer
Molly Conners Executive Producer
Mychael Danna Score Composer
Scott Derrickson Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Marc Dobiecki Camera Operator
Michael Flynn Executive Producer
Elizabeth Fowler Producer
Walter Gasparovic Asst. Director
Bill Johnson Makeup Special Effects
Scott Jurgensmeyer Co-producer
Laura Katz Musical Direction/Supervision
Shara Kay Co-producer
Gary Kay Associate Producer
Melissa Kay Associate Producer
Mara Leveritt Executive Producer
Shirley Libby Sound Mixer
John Loranger Sound Editor
Thomas Minton Art Director
Jessie Misskelley Executive Producer
Edward Mokhtarian Associate Producer
Hoyt David Morgan Executive Producer
Steve Munro Sound/Sound Designer
Jacob Pechenik Executive Producer
Kari Perkins Costumes/Costume Designer
Clark Peterson Producer
Sarah Johnson Redlich Executive Producer
Richard Saperstein Producer
Paul Sarossy Cinematographer
Susan Shipton Editor
Jennifer Smith Casting
Paula Graybill Smith Co-producer
Tricia Wood Casting
Christopher Woodrow Producer
Joulles Wright Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Devil's Knot
1. May 5, 1993 [8:27]
2. Devil's Den [10:02]
3. Investigation [10:14]
4. A Strong Defense [10:54]
5. Grieving Mother [7:51]
6. Perfect Grade [7:40]
7. "One Down, Two To Go." [9:57]
8. Witch Hunt [9:55]
9. Reasonable Doubt [10:46]
10. Lost Evidence [13:19]
11. Stevie's Knife [8:38]
12. Credits [6:18]


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Devil's Knot 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago