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Sundance: Power of film shown in ‘West of Memphis’
Sundance » Documentary underscores the fascination with 3 Arkansas men convicted of murder, and spotlights a flawed justice system.

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What’s love got to do with it? » Beating at the center of the documentary, thankfully, is the romance between Echols and Lorri Davis, a woman who believed in him almost from the beginning, marrying Echols inside an Arkansas prison. Along with Jackson, Walsh and Echols, she helped produce Berg’s film.

There’s so much evil throughout this case," Jackson told the media on the red carpet before its premiere screening. "Then there’s someone’s love that punches right through it."

At a glance

‘West of Memphis’ screening:

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 5:30 p.m. » Screening Room, Sundance Resort

Saturday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m. » Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City

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Echols said he’s far from his victory lap, despite relishing his moment alongside Davis, appearing almost defiant in a black wardrobe that might fit in among all the Hollywood types flooding this ski resort town, but that made him a suspicious outsider in his community all those years back. Echols has a book coming out in September and a possible art show in New York City.

But he’s rankled by the nature of the Alford pleas that let him, Baldwin and Misskelley walk free, asserting their innocence but still pleading guilty to the crimes of which they were convicted, and also by knowing that the person who committed the murders remains free.

Echols’ belief that justice must be served after the injustice he, Baldwin and Misskelley suffered is expressed at the end of Berg’s film. At credits’ end, the same tip-line phone number that hovered on a billboard over an Arkansas freeway appears on the screen. One version of the billboard shows the faces of the West Memphis Three, while another billboard photo shows the faces of the three boys who were brutally murdered.

"It’s still an uphill fight," Echols said. "It’s not going to be completely over until we’re completely exonerated ... and the people who should be in prison, are in prison."


Twitter: @Artsalt


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