Eye For Film >> Movies >> Paradise Lost (1996) DVD Review
Reviewed by: Nick JonesRead Nick Jones's film review of Paradise Lost
The two important and terrifying documentaries, Paradise Lost and [film]Paradise Lost 2[/film] have been released for the first time on one disc, on the eve of Damien Echol's last chance to appeal against his death sentence. The packaging is suitably dark and the booklet by Time Out's Dave Calhoun contains a clear overview of events in this upsetting case.
One criticism of the DVD would be that, considering it features two very long and complex documentaries, it would have been useful to split them into more than six chapters each, particularly to assist repeat viewing. It is very hard to find certain interviews, or extracts from the trials, without having to fast forward large chunks of the films. Also, it would have been helpful to include the campaign website somewhere in the booklet.
Due to the nature of the subject matter, it is understandable that this box set does not feature much in the way of bonus material and, aside from the directorial commentaries, which throw yet further light on this dark and troubling case, the only extra is a 22-minute extract from a presentation by leading lawyer Dennis Riordan, entitled Murder, Witches & Capital Punishment. Filmed in 2005, Riordan's speech provides an up-to-date perspective and, when watching it, you hope and pray that his influence and reputation can help save Echol's life.
Whatever the outcome of the appeal later this year - and it really is the last chance saloon this time - these relentlessly impartial documentaries will serve as a stark reminder that, even in these modern times, there are still dark corners of America where witch hunts still occur, and fear and hatred is enough to put a man on Death Row, which, in itself, can be a heinous, murderous crime.
Buy this DVD, learn about the case and support the West Memphis Three. To find out more visit www.wm3.org.Reviewed on: 10 Aug 2005