Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Director: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

Cast: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

     
 
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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
The question of who did the deed was not an issue for filmmakers Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger in their first film, Brother's Keeper. But defining that event -- the suffocation of an elderly, ill man by his brother on a farm in upstate New York -- was the issue here; was it an act of mercy or a homicide? In their second documentary, the team have a whodunit on their hands, at least according to their skeptical way of presenting the case against three young men charged in a gruesome triple murder in West Helena, AR. Is the case against this trio -- no model citizens, but hardly career criminals -- a rush to judgment by a small town searching for a quick solution? Sinofsky and Berlinger believe so, and though they give both sides of the case their respective dues, their skepticism is contagious. The prosecution's case rests on a confession elicited from the weak link among the accused, a mentally diminished young man named Jessie Miskelly, and the filmmakers offer an alternative scenario, skillfully turn the righteous onscreen anger of one of the victim's stepparents against him to suggest that authorities ignored this more likely suspect. This is not an easy film to watch; the anguish the victims' families feel is palpable, and it's easy to sympathize with their quest for speedy justice. If Paradise Lost occasionally feels repetitive, it's because Sinofsky and Berlinger are determined to build their case methodically, to offset those understandable emotions.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/2005
UPC:
0767685974438
Original Release:
1996
Rating:
NR
Source:
New Video Group
Time:
2:30:00
Sales rank:
54,992

Special Features

Exclusive trial footage; Timeline of events; Trial updates; Theatrical trailer; Filmmaker biographies; Interactive menus; Scene selection

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
1. Real Monsters [:05]
2. Hell on Earth [:05]
3. Jessie's Confession [:06]
4. Not Alone [7:10]
5. Whatever It Takes [7:29]
6. First Christmas [7:10]
7. True or False [5:05]
8. "One Down, Two to Go" [9:40]
9. "All is not Lost" [8:31]
10. Partial to Black [10:39]
11. The Unforgiven [7:06]
12. Who to Believe? [9:41]
13. No Blood? [6:10]
14. Mr. Crowley [7:14]
15. Another Theory [3:46]
16. "Guilt by Association" [2:58]
17. The Verdict [6:42]
18. Credits [7:17]

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