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  • btvsalon7 February 2004
    I saw this movie and loved it! It opened my eyes to the depth and dimension of the "missing and murdered children" story. The actors were great and the plot had so much integrity (holding true to actual events and reports). I was a child growing up in Atlanta during the kidnappings and murders (1979-1982) and I remember the terror that paralyzed our city. And I do mean "paralyzed." So many leads and reports were not properly or promptly followed up on by our law enforcement--until it was too late. When the accused killer was arrested and later convicted, our community's fear was not assuaged. While I didn't understand the conviction to be a possible "coverup", I was convinced that some mistakes had been made. Even as a child I knew this. After seeing this movie in 2002, many of my suspicions were confirmed and many new questions were raised. This movie was the catalyst which sparked my renewed interest in seeing the whole truth brought to light. I recommend, after viewing the movie, that you read Rachael Bell's article on the Atlanta Child Murders/Wayne Williams.
  • sweeti928517 July 2000
    This movie is incredible. It tells the true story of two reporters as they try to uncover a conspiracy concerning the murders of young African American children from poverty-stricken areas of Atlanta. As they bring the truth into the open, their lives and the lives of their "allies" are put in danger as corrupt officials try to keep the story under wraps. The actors are superb but yet manage to keep you focused on the heart-wrenching story of innocence lost without letting you stray from the point at hand.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In the early 80s, black children began disappearing from the streets of Atlanta, only to turn up dead later, often floating in a river. The city was outraged and the rest of the country transfixed. Wayne Williams, a young African-American oddball, was caught under suspicious circumstances, convicted and put away for life.

    The problem, as this production has it, is that he didn't kill any of the victims, except maybe two or three who were already fully grown. Who did it? Well, there are the usual suspects -- the KKK and a child-pornography ring comprised of "the higher ups" -- who grabbed the first plausible black guy and "railroaded" him. The pornography ring abused the kids sexually and then murdered them and any witnesses to keep them from talking.

    If there's a cliché missing, let me know. If I hit an original thought in this movie, send up a flare.

    Two investigators, Hines and Belushi, are prompted by an angry black politician to look into the case four years after its close. They turn up every suspicious incident, every skulking witness, every redacted document, every despairing mother, every redneck peckerwood calling them "Boy", every bureaucratic bungle imaginable.

    There's an unpleasant racist element in the movie too, made explicit by one of the relatives of a victim: "You think this would have happened if the boy was white?" I believe someone said it. I vaguely remember the case, and I recall some anger and discomfort in the black community when the perp turned out to be a black man rather than a racist white guy. I recall a similar sense of sentimental perturbation when the notorious Son of Sam in New York turned out to be named "David Berkowitze" and the sigh of relief that followed among some Jews, some of whom I number among my best friends, when it developed that David Berkowitz was his adopted name, and that he was born to an Italian couple. I ought to stop here and make it clear that I'm not going to answer accusations of racism because it's infra dig.

    It's a movie that should appeal to today's audiences because of the prevailing paranoia. Is the bureaucracy sloppy and inept? You bet. They were equally inept in every investigation they undertook, from Hoover's denial that the Mafia ever existed, through the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Any paper trail will uncover as many bungles as you like. I strongly doubt that, should anyone examine your own official documents, you would turn out to be the same age, height, and appearance on all of them. Your name is probably misspelled. Some anonymous clerk somewhere must have been coming down from battery acid at one time and copied the wrong data.

    Of course Williams may have been innocent of some, or even all, of the murders. The law assumes that one is either guilty or innocent, but scientists know that life is a matter of probabilities. Will the sun rise tomorrow? The only correct answer is "probably." "All The President's Men" is a sterling example of a film about a real instance of investigative journalism, classy in all its aspects. Oliver Stone's "JFK" is a jumbled mess -- and so is this.

    Skip it unless you enjoy feeling enraged.
  • I happened to catch this on TV, and wanted to watch because I remembered the Spin magazine article upon which the movie is based. I was very disappointed. First, if James Belushi is the lead actor in a movie, it should be a sign that it's not exactly an A-list production. Gregory Hines was a world class dancer, but sadly not a great actor.

    In fact, all of the acting in this film is either flat or hammy, which can only be blamed on the director, who is this film's weakest link. Charles Carner seemed to be trying to ape Oliver Stone's "JFK" in portraying the alleged conspiracy to cover up the "real" child murderer(s), but without the benefit of a good script, an A-list cast or, it must be said, the talent. It just doesn't work.

    It's a shame that such a worthy topic for a film did not get better treatment.
  • Released on video as "Echo of Murder", this film is a scrapbook docudrama which retells the history of the infamous early 80's Atlanta "Child Murders" through the investigative reporting of two journalists, Heins and Belushi. The film gathers momentum quickly and keeps up the pace though the story is more a regurgitation of history than an embellished drama. Worth a look for those unfamiliar with this dark time in Atlanta's history.
  • A racially mixed pair of reporters start out to cover the Atlanta child murder cases and come to believe that a huge KKK conspiracy is involved in the killings and it was covered up by a combination of police bungling and politics. The story is almost believable yet it fails to recognize that the situation was such that American black activists were all over the case too and it would seem very likely that they would publicize such a conspiracy and not just let the matter rest as it has. The film is a little too simplistic in that sense and doesn't cover any extensive interviews with the defendant or examine why or if the murders continued after his apprehension. I could readily understand the political motives for covering up such an inflammatory conspiracy but it seems too far fetched to believe that such a coverup would have to involve so many people of different races and views that it just seems to implausable. Good effort by Hines and Belushi though.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this on DVD, from our public library, titled "Echo of Murder (2000) (TV) (USA)". I went into it deliberately knowing nothing about the story, eager to see Gregory Hines and Jim Belushi. I was not disappointed. Hines, who died last year, did no dancing or singing here, yet proves again that he was one of our fine, mostly overlooked actors. Set in the mid-1980s, he is the boss, Belushi works for him at a national magazine. They go to Atlanta upon the urging by a black lady politician who believes there is more story than the investigation, closed 5 years earlier, of the murder of 25 to 50 black children in the 5 counties that makes up Atlanta. It is both a well-made movie, and an important piece of American history.

    SPOILERS, SPOILERS follow, read no further if you don't want any surprise spoiled. A young black man was convicted and sent to prison, authorities attached blame to him for all the children murdered, but an investigation into a possible Klan role was kept secret and all records destroyed just a short time after the investigation was 'closed', in violation of Atlanta records policy. One cop, however, had made copies of key documents first, and buried them for safety, eventually turning them over to the two reporters. There was some vague implication that Atlanta's first black mayor was involved in the suppression of information, to not tarnish his administration. There is a clear implication that a member of the Klan investigation team was in fact a Klan member, and his was the main role in suppressing the investigation, along with destroying records. There seemed to be strong evidence that the Klan was indeed on a mission to kill black children as a method of 'cleansing' their community. The movie ends with no firm conclusion, and that may upset many viewers. However, for me it was still a worthwhile viewing, to understand a bit better some of the impact of racism, which we all hope is fading into history. We're not there yet!
  • The whole premise of the KKK plot behind the killings portrayed in this film is pure garbage. For one, even in the film, they acknowledge that the Mayor of Atlanta back then was black, so why would he want to suppress the news of this so called conspiracy? The film tries to explain this that anything short of a complete indictment of the KKK would make martyrs of the klansmen and/or start a race war is crap too. Even if the KKK was not directly indicted, a few of the white killers could have been arrested and tried and they may have later ratted on the KKK.

    Second, the killings stopped after the rightfully convicted killer was arrested. Another clue that the premise of this book and movie are bunk. the fact that no one ever saw one white man abduct any of those black kids should be cause to doubt this whole conspiracy.

    No slight against James Belushi, he is an okay actor but no star and Hines is the same. This is total B movie dreck aimed at a crackpot black audience who refuses to accept any responsibility for their own people's dismal lot. So there is a built in audience for this kind of dishonest dreck. Stone's "JFK" was a load of crap too, but at least that was an interesting well made movie.

    But just look at Mumia, another case involving a black killer, these sort of cases create conspiracies.
  • This Showtime original is definitely worth a look. I couldn't help but be reminded of "JFK" and a weekly show on The Learning Channel called "Medical Detectives". Much of the film is told in flashback and with second hand information ("Mrs. X reported seeing a green car near the railroad tracks, etc., etc. etc.). The performances are good and it brings angles to the story that I never knew existed. I won't reveal anything as that would spoil it. It also reminded me of "All the President's Men" a little with the two stars doing their best to uncover the facts. Check it out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    My theory regarding the release of this movie leads me to believe that this film was originally made for theatrical release (at the end credits it states that this is a Motion Picture through Viacom) . The elements such was cinematography, excellent DP and camera angling is not typical for a made-for-TV. And now I remember that this was a Showtime release. I have my other thoughts that if this film were released theatrically, could you imagine the uproar from audience viewer ship?

    This film makes a powerful statement of what possibly may have been the fact that the Klan's involvement in the actual murders is highly likely. And I do not think that this is a "maybe" to tell you the truth. The fact that this probe and investigation was ever released by Spin Magazine tells me that there is a very high probability that the Klan was the main suspect into the murders. This film is excellent in that the use of documentation and eyewitness accounts from the officer involved in the investigation of the murders to the mothers and the state representative standing strong to bring the truth to the public. I was a child myself when this case was televised via media coverage. Even as a child, I could not tell you why I felt that something was not satisfactory in the apprehension of Wayne Williams.

    It was too neat and convenient, yet, I could not verbalize this supposition as a child. I never imagined, even at that point, that it could have been the Klan. However, as I watched this film, I was completely convinced that the Klan was absolutely involved in all of the murders. How frightening and historically sensible that it would be the Klan.

    Gregory Hines and James Belushi were terrific together as the reporters turned investigators as they unravel the secrets and the cover up behind one of the country's most scathing murder cases of the decade. I enjoyed their SINCERE comrade and chemistry. They were outstanding together and I would love to see them together again solving another case as detectives (if Mr. Hines were still living as he was multi-talented and emanated intelligence in every role he has every played. I will sorely miss him).

    It was genius to add Belushi to the casting because while he is mainly a comedic performer, he also demonstrates the ability to portray seriousness with fine comedic balance to lighten up a very disturbing and very heart-breaking true story. The producers couldn't have selected a better team and an overall powerful cast.

    This film is well worth watching and was delicately handled as this is a subject which continues to be very much a living reality in America. This hatred has got to stop because there is too much beauty and perfection while watching Caucasian and African-Americans work together in films. I love it and I love the chemistry as it brings a positive energy to any movie when the pairing is sincere and the performances are authentic.

    As Ebert says; Two Thumbs Up for this picture. It is frequently aired on Court TV (however) if you can stand the constant commercial interruptions. All in all, it is worth the watch.