We watched two movies this past weekend, one surprisingly good, the other shockingly bad.
First up was Devil’s Knot (imdb | rotten tomatoes), Atom Egoyan’s adaptation of Mara Leveritt’s book of the same name about the West Memphis Three. I read that book, and watched all three HBO documentaries, and watched Peter Jackson’s documentary, and pretty much everything else. Not only was this movie unnecessary, it was fumbled from the start. I don’t know what Egoyan was trying to accomplish by messing with Pam Hobbs’ timeline, and the could-have-been-interesting focus on Ron Lax was blown by a wholly ineffective Colin Firth. The movie was stilted and painful and anaemic compared to what came before. Do yourself a favour and read the book; it’s dated, but it’s still the definitive read on the WM3 for me.
Much better, to our surprise, was Lone Survivor (imdb | rotten tomatoes). I didn’t know much about it; the subway posters just mentioned Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch and so I didn’t have much faith that it would be anything other than a standard war movie. Then, last night, I noticed it was directed by Peter Berg, so that got my attention. A 75% Rotten Tomatoes score didn’t hurt either, so we took a chance. It was actually quite good. Can’t describe it much without giving away important plot points, but now I want to buy the book on which this movie was based.
Cover photo by James McCauley, used under Creative Commons license