Film Review: Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000)

SYNOPSIS:

Horrific, disturbing and absolutely fascinating, the Emmy nominated Paradise Lost 2: Revelations reviews the chilling saga from HBO’s award winning hit, Paradise Lost: The child murders at Robin Hood Hills. Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky return to West Memphis, Arkansas to reexamine the most notorious murder case in the state’s history, revealing startling new evidence and exploring the ironies and ambiguities of a mystery that refuses to go away.

REVIEW:

That’s right, fellow true crime advocates… HBO, Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky and Metallica have returned with another chilling installment in the Paradise Lost series. This riveting sequel, Revelations, has twice the shocks, twice the mystery and twice the captivation as the original. This documentary shows the support that has sprouted all over the world for Damien Echols Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin, now dubbed as The West Memphis Three by a support group from California. Kathy Bakken worked at a Key art company (which does the art work for upcoming movie releases) and saw the the original Paradise Lost in advance. She showed it to (her now husband) Grove Paschley and Burk Sauls (the three are collectively known as the KGB by Damien) and they became more interested in the case. Burke found a book on the case and he knew without a doubt that these three teens were innocent.

He, Grove, Kathy and Lisa Fancher (not seen in Revelations) started to gather every scrap of information they could on this travesty of a case. They did not understand how these three teens could be convicted with no evidence. They came up with a website to document every scrap of information on the case and share it with the world. Author Mara Leveritt interviewed them and wrote a book on the case entitled The Devil’s Knot (as well as many articles). Supporters from all over the United States gathered in Arkansas… From California, to Texas, to Ohio… to “New Joisey (as pronounced in the film by it’s residents).”…Jersey, that is.

Black and white footage of the original is shown with additional scenes cut from it as well. Disturbing pictures of the three murdered children are graphically shown up close as a criminal Profiler tries to help the Defense team find out more answers of this tragic puzzle. Two of the families did not agree to participate in this sequel. One of the fathers returned with a vengeance. He displays a range of emotions once more… from sorrow, to guilt… to anger, hatred and revenge. Interviews with the three convicted are spliced throughout the film, as well as their parents and the effect that Paradise Lost has had on this case. News footage, MTV news footage, Court TV footage and reviews of (the impact of) the original film are cut in as well. The Judge presiding over the case said if he could do it over, there would probably be no recording during the proceedings.

This sequel is just as entertaining as the original. Mostly because of the access that these two amazing film makers have gained since the beginning. Just as the original, this is a must see.

UPDATE: New evidence has been uncovered that points away from the three convicted men, now imprisoned for over fifteen years (and the stepfather in Revelations that almost seems as if he’s hiding something, but passes a lie detector test), but to another stepfather (not seen in this film). New trials have been proceeding and another for Jessie is due in August. A special forensic team has joined the defense, along with a detective from New York in cracking this case and setting the West Memphis Three free.

Rallies have been held all over and CNN’s Larry King Live, Good Morning America and several talk shows (including Leeza, seen in this documentary) have covered the story. Lori Davis, Damien’s wife has constantly fought for ten years to see her husband, Jason and Jessie set free. Rock, Punk, and Metal bands support the three as well as actors such as Johnny Depp and Wynona Ryder… and film makers such as Kevin Williamson and Trey Parker. Country star and Dixie Chick, Natalie Mains has joined in the crusade as well. For more information, visit www.wm3.org, read The Devil’s Knot (soon to be a major motion picture) by Mara Leveritte, Almost Home, by Damien Echols, himself or The Blood of Innocence by Guy Reel, Marc Perrusquia, Bartholemew Sullivan… and for Christ’s sake… Watch these f*cking documentaries!

Just as the original, I give this sequel…FOUR HORNS UP. In addition to these documentaries, there are piles of updated and unseen information available. The web site mentioned above is always updated and sells the shirts seen in the film.

In my opinion, once part three comes out (now in production), this trilogy (said by film makers, Joe and Bruce to be the Final Chapter and not to be finished/ released until the three are set free) will be more twisted and entertaining (with the newly found evidence) than anything Hollywood or the best fiction writer could conjure up in a hundred years.

There is no script… no acting, no special effects and one hundred percent documentary film making at it’s absolute finest…. and most disturbing. A box set is now available of both installments so far (or you can purchase them separately). Part three is set for a theatrical release. If you miss these documentaries and the third installment coming soon in the trilogy … “I’d be sorry… For you, I mean.”

Paradise Lost 2: Revelations

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