Her New Film Is Based On A Tragic True Story

by Lia Beck

Even if you don't know the story of the West Memphis Three, it's clear from the very beginning of the new trailer for Devil's Knot that this story is going to be a tragedy. The sound of a small boy singing and being complimented by his mother while haunting music plays in the background sets the scene. Devil's Knot is the story of three eight-year-old boys who were killed in West Memphis, Ark. in 1993 and the three teenagers who were convicted of the crime. At the time it was thought that the teens, known as the West Memphis Three, murdered the children as part of a satanic ritual.

The film stars Reese Witherspoon as a mother who discovers her son is missing when he doesn't return home from playing with his friends one evening. After evidence proving her son's murder and that of two other boys is found, three teenagers are arrested. Witherspoon's character ends up forming a connection with a private investigator (Colin Firth) who believes that the teens may be innocent. In one defining line Firth asks, "Would you want three more families to lose their children too?" Witherspoon's southern accent pushed to an extreme in Devil's Knot and, judging by the trailer, Firth doesn't sound half bad as an American himself. The movie co-stars Dane DeHaan, Amy Ryan, Stephen Moyer, and Mireille Enos, and is directed by Atom Egoyan (Chloe).

Twenty-one years have passed since the horrific event, so we already know the outcome of this story. The teens were thought to have been wrongly convicted, an idea that was supported by several celebrities including Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines, and Henry Rollins who helped with funding DNA testing and drew media coverage to the case. After further investigation, the men were released in 2011 after serving 18 years imprisonment. It looks like the film will not include this part of the story (other than as an epilogue at the end, most likely) and will instead focus on one mother's story.

Devil's Knot will open in theaters on May 9.