By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist November 20, 2013 at 9:02AM
A case so multifaceted and controversial that four documentaries—The “Paradise Lost” trilogy and Amy Berg’s “West of Memphis”—have been produced to unpack it, the West Memphis Three killings have nevertheless gained their first fictional retelling courtesy of Atom Egoyan. As the “Sweet Hereafter” director’s drama premiered at TIFF this year (where it was picked up for distribution by Image Entertainment), it seems it may have benefited from letting non-fiction have its day—the film garnered quite a few unfavorable reviews, including ours—but now a new trailer and poster have hit the web to let those interested decide.
Boasting a top-notch dramatic cast led by Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, the film recounts a harrowing timeline of inexact justice. When three children were found murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas, their three suspected killers—all young men from the area—were quickly arrested and charged. But once their liability started to seem suspect by certain parties surrounding the case, a complicated saga in need of a conclusion failed to find anything approaching one for nearly two decades.
The new trailer gives us a sense of how this Hollywood cast fits into the story, with Witherspoon playing the distraught mother of one of the victims and Firth playing a private investigator looking into the case. But from what we saw in Toronto, Egoyan has fumbled in compressing the well-known story into two hours: in our D-grade review, we found that it “lacks potency or a compelling narrative reason why anyone remotely familiar with the case needs to be watching it.”
So it appears a definite misfire from the usually compelling Egoyan, but still the film will find release in the second quarter of 2014. Check out the full trailer, a batch of new pictures from the movie and the poster on second page. [Rope Of Silicon]