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Devil’s Knot (Blu-ray Review)

Devils Knot - www.whysoblu.comAcademy Award® winners Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, 2010) and Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line, 2005) lead an all-star cast in this gripping, heart-wrenching true story that shocked the nation. May 5, 1993. West Memphis, Arkansas. Three young boys playing in the nearby woods never come home for dinner. In the rush to find and convict the killers, police focus on a trio of teenagers suspected of devil worship. As the mother of one of the murdered boys (Witherspoon) tries to come to grips with this unspeakable tragedy, she is desperate to believe that the killers have been found and will be brought to justice. It is only when an investigator (Firth) reveals that the evidence doesn’t all add up, that the community is forced to face the reality that the true killer might still be out there. 

 

Devils Knot

Film 

Devil’s Knot is the story based on the real life events of the “Memphis Three” case of the early 90’s. On May 5, 1993 three young boys were out in the woods playing and riding their bikes and never came home. The boys were eventually found stripped and bound in a river creek. As the town law enforcement begins to scour the area, the mother (Reese Witherspoon) of one of the boys, has to come to grips with the reality of her son’s death and where she will go from there. Colin Firth plays an assistant for the defense and acts a private investigator when not in the courthouse.

I’m old enough to have heard about the case early on but was somewhat iffy on the details before watching Devil’s Knot. Once the film got started it held on until the end. It’s not a perfect film or anything but it does have much substance on its morose exterior. Let’s not kid around here: Devil’s Knot is not a pleasant film. We know what and how these kids die and the circumstances under which they died of is horrible. The “Memphis Three” moniker is also highly curious, because three boys go into the woods and the accused end up being three young teenagers.

Firth’s character goes on about handling his own mini-investigations, but because he’s not an actual lawyer cannot present evidence or testimony to the court. Pam (Witherspoon) has to pick up the pieces and ride this wave of circumstance until its completion. Even she doesn’t know what to think after all is said and done. When the layers of Devil’s Knot begin to get peeled back that’s when the darkness hits. The three teens that stand accused of the murders are also accused of torturing and killing the kids in a satanic ritual. Keep in mind the gravity of this situation in a town of a couple of thousand.

Other points are brought up that maybe it was a family member that was close to the boys’ families and in the most extreme example of something getting brushed off to the side there was mention of a stranger who was found bleeding at the local bathroom but was never seen or heard from again. Devil’s Knot is wrought with frustration as you certain events unravel and quickly dismissed by the skeptical court and those heading the investigation. Heck, even evidence got misplaced or destroyed, so it was just one giant cluster bomb after another. I know it sounds as if I was screaming at the screen while I was watching but it just goes to show how absorbed I was in the case.

Devil’s Knot is definitely not an optimistic film as the subject matter is extremely dark with very strong and subtle performances by Colin Firth and definitely Reese Witherspoon who was very pregnant during shooting. Atom Egoyan is a fantastic filmmaker and was the main draw to this film and I appreciate the amount work that went into the film. The film does not take sides at all. It simply exists to show you something that happened a long time ago. The purpose is for you to take whatever you want to take from it. Do you think the teens committed the killings? Watch Devil’s Knot and figure it out for yourself.

 

Devils Knot

Video 

Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: The level of clarity on this Blu-ray is awesome. I did not notice any hints of post-production tinkering. It’s safe to say that they left this one alone once it was mastered in high definition.

Depth: This is an overall pleasant looking Blu-ray. A few instances of softness are present but the image is still really detailed.

Black Levels: Some scenes take place at night and they’re foreshadowed with dread, so it was a relief that crush was nonexistent.

Color Reproduction: Color separation was awesome – I detected no banding issues and the overall palette was a tad on the muted side. It worked for me.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones looked natural a few folks looked a little on the puffy side but I’m sure that was due to the make-up artists. Some of the folks depicted had alcohol and drug problems.

Noise/Artifacts: Very few anomalies were detected on the Blu-ray. They’re there bit don’t hurt anyone.

 

Devils Knot -

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Devil’s Knot is a thriller with dramatic overtones thrown into the mix. The lossless surround track reflects this. Keep in mind that just because the film is low-key doesn’t mean the soundtrack is. It won’t shake the foundations of your home theater or anything but it’s more than just “average.”

Low Frequency Extension: LFE is very low on this one due to it not having those scenes that call for extreme low bass them. You can expect LFE during certain scenes that involve a serious beat or discovery.

Surround Sound Presentation: Devil’s Knot is not an action flick; so don’t expect serious sound experience from the back speakers. What you can expect is some subtle ambience along with nature’s wildlife buzzing away back there.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are steady and every syllable is audible without hints of distortion. It is a dialogue driven and it passes the muster.

 

Devils Knot - www.whysoblu.com

Extras 

There are a few supplements included on the Blu-ray. A making-of segment, deleted scenes, and cast interviews are included in the supplemental package.

The Making of Devil’s Knot (HD, 6:57) – Here’s a very cool reflective featurette on the making of Devil’s Knot with director Atom Egoyan. This is actually some good stuff.

Getting into Character: The Cast of Devil’s Knot (HD, 7:48) – The stars and supporting cast talk about their roles in the film. Watching them talk you’d think they dropped off on another plant as they do come off a little mind blown. I guess the ruralities of their environment got to them a bit.

Deleted Scenes (SD, 5:43) – Some of these scenes ran a little too long and brought very little to the overall film. They were right to be deleted.

 

Devils Knot

Summary 

Watching Devil’s Knot reminded me why I like Atom Egoyan’s films so much. They’re intense and always seem to open themselves up to you as you watch. Devil’s Knot is a very strong and intense drama, with some very strong performances by Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth. The tech-specs are fine but the lack of in-depth supplements brings the overall score down just a smidgen. If you’re already an Atom Egoyan fan then this is a no-brainer and if you’re just getting into Egoyan films then Devil’s Knot is a perfect way to acquaint yourself with his work.

 

 

Order Devil’s Knot on Blu-ray!

Devils Knot - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “Devil’s Knot (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I thought to myself, “the only thing this Atom Egoyan film needs is Elias Koteas,” and sure enough… So now I have to check it out!