We are welcomed by a characteristically grumpy Colin Firth and an unusually mumsy Reese Witherspoon to Devil’s Knot, a fascinating if ultimately flaccid true-crime drama. The performances of the three boys standing trial are convincing for the most part if a little lifeless at times, while Firth and Witherspoon play their roles passionately throughout.
While the story is an interesting one, the writing and pace leave the viewer feeling that only the surface of the story has been scratched. At times, the performances and subject matter accidentally edge into dark parody – an easy pitfall of a film which takes itself too seriously.
Devil’s Knot is a brave endeavour at telling a complicated story of injustice and US religious zealousness. However, the passion of the two leads is not enough to carry the film to any satisfying conclusion.
CAST: Dane DeHaan, Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth
DIRECTOR: Atom Egoyan
WRITER: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson
SYNOPSIS: The savage murders of three young children sparks a controversial trial of three teenagers accused of killing the kids as part of a satanic ritual.