There was a lot of hoopla surrounding Allentown native Dane DeHaan when he played Harry Osborn in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
The film, which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 19, picked up $786 million at the box office and is the sixth-highest grossing picture of the year.
But after "Spidey" hit theaters, another DeHaan film was given a much different reception. "Devil's Knot" (2014, Image, R, $20), which the actor filmed before "Spider-Man 2," was barely in theaters before recently turning up on DVD and Blu-ray.
"Devil's Knot" (2014, Image, R, $20) examines the true story of the unsolved 1993 murders of three young boys in West Memphis, Ark. Three local teenagers were unjustly convicted of the crimes and freed in 2011 thanks in part to a series of HBO documentaries, including "Paradise Lost."
Even though DeHaan is third-billed in "Devil's Knot" after Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, he plays a relatively small role of a teenager who confesses to the crimes but is never taken seriously as a suspect. Given DeHaan's career trajectory, "Devil's Knot" is bound to be just a blip.
Still, "Devil's Knot" is an interesting movie and indicative of the actor's desire to work with respected directors. The filmmaker behind "Devil's Knot" is Atom Egoyan, who directed the arthouse hits "The Sweet Hereafter" and "Exotica," as well as the racy thriller "Chloe," starring Allentown native Amanda Seyfried.
With "Devil's Knot," Egoyan tries to get at the truth of the controversial case by approaching it from different perspectives. But there are too many points of view and too many characters.
After an absorbing beginning featuring Witherspoon as the mother of one of the victims, the film falls apart as the focus shifts to a detective (Firth) who always seems to be on the fringes of the investigation.
"Devil's Knot" might have come and gone quickly but DeHaan's star power is lasting. The actor has at least a half-dozen projects in various stages of release including:
•"Life After Beth," due Aug. 22 in Philadelphia, is a comedy about a guy (DeHaan) who gets a second chance with his gal pal (Aubrey Plaza) after she comes back to life following her unexpected death.
•"Life," due in 2015, investigates the relationship between James Dean (DeHaan) and a photographer (Robert Pattinson) assigned to take photos of him.
•"Tulip Fever," also due in 2015, is the 17th century saga of a portrait painter (DeHaan) who falls in love with a married young woman while he's commissioned to paint her portrait. Judi Dench and Christoph Waltz co-star.
•"The Amazing Spider-Man 3," due June 2016, brings DeHaan back as Spidey nemesis Harry Osborne/the Green Goblin.
Amy Longsdorf is freelance writer.
Jodi Duckett, editor
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