The Devil’s Knot is based on a true story; the motiveless murders of three eight year old boys in rural Arkansas in 1993. Hysteria grips the town, and three gothy teenagers are accused of the crime while some fairly obvious leads are overlooked and vital evidence is lost.
Apparently this is a well-known story that’s been told better elsewhere, in a number of documentaries for instance, and this movie doesn’t actually add anything new. But this was actually the first time I’d heard about the gut-wrenching crime and/or the gross miscarriage of justice, and I thought it was fascinating. It’s quite slow, the crickets and eagle cries that stand in for atmosphere are a bit insistent, but it’s all suitably brooding, unsettling and terribly sad. It ends a bit oddly too, like a tv show rather than a movie, but I’m glad I sat through it; it felt important to remind us that justice is sometimes short-sighted, and we need always to be vigilant against the crazies.