Paradise Lost 2: Revelations

2000

Crime / Documentary

3
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 8323

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 23, 2021 at 06:54 PM

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1.2 GB
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English 2.0
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2 hr 13 min
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2.22 GB
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English 2.0
NR
29.97 fps
2 hr 13 min
P/S 7 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tomgillespie2002 5 / 10

Rather hypocritical sequel

After the storm kicked up by the first film, film-makers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky returned to West Memphis four years later. Whereas the first film seemed to simply document the case in as much detail as possible and allowed you to make your own mind up, with Revelations, they seem to have their own agenda. New 'evidence' has been discovered, and perhaps the real killer still walks the streets, and it's clear who Berlinger and Sinofsky believes it to be. That crazy bastard John Mark Byers, who took so much pleasure in giving Biblical rants to camera, hardly covers himself in glory, and he's back here to build fake graves for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley at the crime scene, only to set them on fire amidst his demented monologues.

It's sad that Berlinger and Sinofsky decided to take such a manipulative approach to the sequel, as although Byers is clearly an unhinged and simple-minded hick, there is no evidence against him killing the three boys (Michael Moore, Stevie Branch, and his stepson Christopher Byers) aside from the fact that he comes across as scary and strange. The first film was an intense study of mob mentality and the dangers of pre- judgement by appearance, and how the West Memphis Three managed to get themselves convicted simply for being black-wearing outcasts. So Revelations comes across is hypocritical.

When new evidence is presented, suggesting teeth marks on the head of one of the victims, tests prove that none of the WM3's teeth match. When Byers is confronted, he reveals that he had his teeth removed but keeps changing his story as to when this took place. He is repeatedly confronted by a support group that help fund and promote the case against the WM3, but they come across as equally strange as Byers, following Echols like groupies as if he was some kind of prophet, and they berate Byers into handing in his dental records voluntarily to prove himself innocent. Byers refuses, stating that there is no case against him, and this is shown in the film as if an admittance of guilt. The film-makers never take any time to explain the reasoning behind Byers' behaviour, clearly convinced of his guilt.

In the end, it's a case of there being too little here to warrant a two hour-plus movie. The new evidence is flimsy to say the least, and as revealed in West of Memphis (2012), is probably completely wrong. Yet when the film gets back down to cold facts, it becomes as riveting as the first film, unveiling a justice system that seems unwilling to open the doors to the possibility that they simply got it wrong. It's just a shame that too much time is spent on a personal witch-hunt, and even when Byers passes a voluntary lie-detector test, the film suggests that Byers was on so much prescription medication that the results of this cannot really stand up, yet fails to ask to conductor of the test of his views regarding this. It's certainly a confused film, and one that works best when it stays on topic and documents the facts rather than revelling in propagandistic speculation.

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Reviewed by StevePulaski 9 / 10

Hopefully we find a paradise and it's not as hokey and as gray at the one that has been endured for far too long

Paradise Lost 2: Revelations picks up just a few years after the original documentary, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. During that documentary, we were informed massively about the murders and mutilation of three second graders on May 5, 1993 in West Memphis, Arkansas. The three convicted seemed to be judged by a shady, flawed confession by one of the men and their personal appearances and interests.

This is not only a sequel to a fantastic documentary, but it's a documentary that sheds light on something very, very frightening; a biased judicial system that reacts on present emotions, unclear evidence (when there hardly is any), and the personalities of the accused. It seemed that the three men were judged more on their likes and interests more than the actual murder. The three men are Damien Echols, now 24, Jessie Misskelley Jr., now 23, and Jason Baldwin, now 21.

The focus seems less on them and more on the smaller characters incorporated in the large story and the backlash and uproar the original HBO film caused. In the beginning of the documentary, we are acquainted with a local support group made up of people from all over the United States who saw the original Paradise Lost documentary, were outraged, and started their own support club. Three brave adults even came up with the idea to start a website in support of the nicknamed "West Memphis Three" (a surprising thing since internet was still pretty new and vague at the time).

The three people behind the website are shown at numerous points in the film accepting collect calls from prison from Damien Echols and holding a live, somewhat informal chat through their website. Damien is on speakerphone, people in the chat room ask him questions, and another writes down Damien's spontaneous responses as quickly as possible.

John Mark Byers, the stepfather to Christopher Byers, one of the three boys mutilated in the woods, is brought to the foreground here. He has got to be one of the most unsettling, eerie, and vicious documentary characters I've ever seen. He speaks in the southern twang you can't ignore, and his six foot eight presence equipped with his strong, muscular build is astonishing. Although he appears to be an upset father about the death of his son, he copes with his anger in a mean-spirited, hateful way. In one scene he goes as far as setting up fake graves for Baldwin, Echols, and Misskelley Jr. and proceeds to douse the graves with lighter fluid before striking a match and incinerating it all.

Byers is suspected in being involved in the murders of the three kids, and is victim to much gossip. On one of the boys, I believe Stevie Branch, but I could be wrong, there appears to be a bite mark. The prosecution insists it's a belt buckle imprint, but it impeccably resembles a purposeful bite mark. Oddly enough a few years after the original film's completion, Byers' wife, Melissa, died of "undetermined" circumstances.

Again, despite noted limitations present in the film, directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky seem to have an unprecedented amount of access to everything case related. Sadly, because of the notoriety of the original Paradise Lost, the film has a few more limitations than the first one did. There are some instances where the film goes to a black title card saying Berlinger and Sinofsky were not allowed to film in the designated area at the designated time. Still, the video we do see is provocative, astounding, and shows us more than one may believe.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills was a strong, turning point in documentary filmmaking because of its unbiased nature and its attitude to "show it all." Paradise Lost 2: Revelations is an impressive and well made documentary as well and it has the power to sway our opinions of the case itself and/or drastically change them. All I can say at this point is that hopefully we find a paradise, and it's not as hokey and as gray at the one that has been endured for far too long by these boys.

Starring: Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin. Directed by: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.

Reviewed by runamokprods 7 / 10

Powerful, but perhaps with too much of an agenda

Generally riveting follow up of the case where three quite possibly innocent young men sit in prison for murdering three children.

Certainly, at least given what the two documentaries show, there is way beyond 'reasonable doubt' that they're responsible. But what was a moderate flaw in the first film becomes worse here; In the same way the prosecution disturbingly made the evidence fit their theory, throwing out, ignoring, or belittling what didn't fit, the film-makers seem to play some of the same game in reverse.

Crucial questions about alibis are never answered, and this sequel spends too much energy trying to pin guilt on Mark Byers, step-father of one of the murdered boys.

Is there some spooky circumstantial evidence that he may have been involved? Absolutely. But proof? The man even voluntarily takes a lie detector test, and passes with flying colors, which the film- makers then dismiss since the man is on various prescription mood altering drugs. But do we ever hear an expert say those drugs might affect the test? No.

More disturbing, the film seems to imply he's guilty because he looks and acts weird, and says confusing and contradictory things, the very sort of 'guilt by odd behavior' association both films attack in relation to the three boys found guilty. The fact that Byers (supposedly) has a brain tumor, and what effect that might have on his outward behavior is never explored at all. And watching this character at such length starts to get dull after a while, as his rants go on and on.

None-the-less, this is still a very interesting film, the most moving sections being those spent with the three now young men in jail for a crime they likely didn't commit. All have grown up a great deal in the 4 years since the last film, and are sad and articulate reminders of how horrifying it can be that people never given the benefit of a fair trial are allowed to sit and rot in prison. And the amazing lack of despair or bitterness they show is a testament to human resilience.

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