It was a good slate of films north of the border this year
Worst: The Devil's Knot
There were a few movies this year that featured dramatic versions of stories that have also been told as documentaries lately. I wasn't crazy about "The Fifth Estate," but it's much better than Atom Egoyan's baffling new film about the West Memphis Three. Actually, that's an inaccurate description. I'm not sure how I'd describe the focus of his film, but choosing to end it with the West Memphis Three having been arrested, but before any of the long and disturbing legal battle they faced seems almost perverse. Reese Witherspoon is stranded playing a character who is written in a way that would insult viewers of a Lifetime Original Movie, much less anyone expecting a nuanced view of what it felt like for the parents of the murdered children. Egoyan doesn't seem to think much of small-town Americans, and it's baffling to me how the guy behind "The Sweet Hereafter" could also make this movie. Even worse, if you aren't already familiar with the story from the four excellent and exhaustive documentaries that already exist, you'll probably be lost completely. This story was much better served in the documentary realm, and so fascinating already that telling it this way robs it of the difficult truth that made it interesting in the first place.
- Drew McWeeny