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Devil’s Knot is a biographical crime-drama based on the true story of the West Memphis Three – three teenagers who were convicted for killing three young boys and subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
Reese Witherspoon stars as a distraught mother, desperate to uncover who is actually responsible for the horrific event.
Reese Witherspoon – Pam Hobbs
Alessandro Nivola – Terry Hobbs
Colin Firth – Ron Lax
Chris DeHaan – Chris Morgan
Stephen Moyer – John Fogleman
Kevin Durand – John Mark Byers
James Hamrick – Damien Echols
Seth Meriwether – Jason Baldwin
Jet Jurgensmeyer – Stevie Branch
As I exited the cinema after this movie had ended, two girls were walking down the hallway in front of me.
One of them turned to her friend and said something along the lines of, “..how was that different to any other film I’ve seen?”.
And I kind of knew where she was coming from – I personally, almost fell asleep during Devil’s Knot.
I found it tedious, very lengthy.
The movie is based on a true story, so I am limited to what I can comment on plot-wise. But as for the acting and overall performance displayed by the cast?
I was surprised at the fact she’s not in the movie a lot seeing as she is one of the main characters. The director seems to focus heatedly on the lawyers who represent the three boys on trial, and what they get up to. But for her screen time, she delivers well.
With Reese, it’s all in the mouth. She has very expressive features when acting, but that mouth does most of it. It seems to naturally flop downwards, which in this case, was valuable given the story – sadness, etc. The woman coasted through Devil’s Knot effortlessly and brought the role of Pam Hobbs to the screen as effectively as any actress could, delivering emotion where and when needed. She probably won’t win any awards for her performance, but at the same time she wasn’t overly bad.
The role of a distraught mother must take a lot of energy to play, so hats off to her for that.
One scene sees her sitting in the courtroom listening to what the judge has to say – she breaks down in tears. Other scenes see her crying or screaming and it’s all very powerful and genuine the way she plays it, I have nothing to say against her portrayal.
I think Reese has proved how versatile an actress she is. At one point I thought back to when she was in Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, and now Devil’s Knot – and realised how good the woman is at playing different roles. It was nice to see her in a different light – as an upset mother, very different. She does good in this movie.
At one point I seriously wondered if director Atom Egoyan intended to make parts of the movie humorous. A few lines were delivered in a way that almost had me hooting with laughter – I didn’t though, due to the subtle atmosphere of the auditorium. A certain character stands out – one of the boys’ fathers..
John Mark Byers (played by Kevin Durand) appears at one stage on the local news after the boys have sadly died. He gives a statement about the incident.
And I honestly nearly roared with laughter; his voice was a mix of the Disney character Goofy and Yogi Bear. As he stood speaking a line such as “weee-ul, aar told him to cum houlme for dinnuuur but he never shouled” (well, I told him to come home for dinner but he never showed) in a deliciously genuine redneck style, I nearly laughed. I honestly thought the man was taking the piss or something.
He was genuinely funny.
Other characters had certain voices or mannerisms to them which also came across as humourous. Devil’s Knot was dangerously close to being a spoof – thank fuck I was aware that it was a biographical crime-drama thing.
Devil’s Knot is a mystery, a sort of ‘whodunnit’ that focuses mainly on the trial three young gentlemen face. The entire movie centres around everyone as focus shifts from person to person, and the lawyers grow more stressed at the situation.
That’s basically your film – what happens to the little boys is explained briefly but then the camera jumps to the group of lawyers for the rest of its duration.
If you’re a fan of murder-mystery or guessing game-style scenarios, then I have no doubt you’ll enjoy this movie. Its in-depth courtroom scenes are full-on. Lawyers and the Jury, the grieving parents, the accused.. all characters are portrayed fully, and the whole trial scenario takes quite some time before the movie is rounded up towards the ending.
I’m not going to lie – I was bored shitless.
Chin resting on hand, I suddenly realised my arm had gone numb (pins and needles) during a conversation between two characters – that was how long some scenes were. I exhaled sighs too – which is never a good sign – actually vocalising how tedious I have become during a movie means the director just hasn’t won me over.
Devil’s Knot is a raw look at the death of three little boys and subsequent court trial of the accused men responsible.
The movie plays out as a mystery which poses one question: are the men guilty or not?
So if you’re a fan of playing detective and piecing things together, you’ll probably enjoy this movie. If not, I wouldn’t bother. It is a very lengthy and saddening process.