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The Devil’s Knot: Real-life intrigue turned courtroom drama

Reese Witherspoon is brilliant as the grieving Southern mother
Reese Witherspoon is brilliant as the grieving Southern mother
Reese Witherspoon is brilliant as the grieving Southern mother

Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth star in this biographic murder mystery

Perhaps as inexplicable as the plot itself is the movie producers’ decision to offer more coverage on the “West Memphis Three” murder suspects.

The savage murders of three young children sparks a controversial trial of three teenagers accused of killing the kids as part of a satanic ritual.

This infamous case has already been covered in endless features and books. Nonetheless, director Atom Egoyan’s effort in turning what could have been a regular thriller into a star-powered courtroom drama has paid off.

Convincing stars

Colin Firth may be one of the most talented actors of our time, winning multiple awards for his work and wowing millions with his performance in The King’s Speech. Of course, his co-star Reese Witherspoon has been about as equally successful.

Witherspoon seems to steal the show as she plays the brilliantly-cast role of victim Stevie Branch’s grieving mother. Being from the south herself, Witherspoon appears to be in her comfort zone.

Although some critics have raised concern on the glamorous Witherspoon’s ability to play a humble, southern woman, she has thus far proven herself to be an adept performer. Brought to life by her immense talent, her character alone is reason enough to watch this film.

Courtroom Drama

Central to the film’s drama are the courtroom scenes. Despite the fact that some viewers might already know of the case’s verdict, the film nonetheless fuels high suspense. Egoyan creates a docudrama that brilliantly encompasses the film’s quiet frustration and intrigue.

Anyone who has read about the trial would know that those convicted were in fact innocent. Yet, Egoyan aims to lengthen the painfully-biased judiciary proceeding.

Devil’s Knot takes a trial that spanned many years and cuts it down to two hours of footage. The film does not show the final verdict, but it certainly gives us the anticipation and drama, shedding a new perspective on this renowned case.


DIRECTOR: Atom Egoyan
STARRING: ReeseWitherspoon, Colin Firth & Dane DeHaan
GENRE: Drama, Thriller
RUN LENGTH: 114 min