Saturday, 14 January 2012

A new turn for Hobbit director Peter Jackson

Amid all the hubbub of The Hobbit, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have unexpectedly (for me, anyway) produced the documentary that was an Official Selection of Sundance. Ladies and gents, the extended trailer for West of Memphis:

Directed by Deliver Us From Evil director Amy Berg, the film is a new documentary about the West Memphis 3, a trio of boys (at the time) who were arrested, charged, and sentenced to life in prison/death penalty for the murder of three young boys. It is a widely held belief that they were scapegoats for the murders for being outsiders in a small community, with a massive and long lasting campaign for a new trial and relaunch into the investigation as many felt the original go was improperly performed. In August of 2011, they were released under a ruling saying they acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict them, but asserting their innocence. 

The topic has already been dealt with extremely well by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky with their Paradise Lost films (the third of which is due out soon), but the big difference is this one is produced by Damien Wayne Echols, one of the men who was incarcerated.

The trailer makes for what could be a thrilling watch, though I am a bit surprised HBO have financed this film, as the other documentaries on the subject were pretty definitive, though I have been suggested that whereas they were documentaries (ie. trying to remain impartial), this one is setting out to assert their innocence.

Regardless, I will happily watch this and Paradise Lost 3 as companion pieces. I'm not too sure what Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh's involvement is. Perhaps they were moved by the story as so many were, and gave their name to give the film some promotional weight, or else they financed it, I cannot be sure.

Whatever the case, this film exists, and it looks like it will be a corker.