Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Conviction"

I had heard mixed reviews going in to see this movie, but I figured that a movie with Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell in it was bound to be good. Luckily, the movie did not disappoint.

Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell, "Iron Man 2") is convicted of murder in 1983 - unjustly, his sister Betty Ann Waters (Hilary Swank, "Amelia") believes. She decides to get her GED, then her Bachelor of Arts degree, and finally a law degree, so that one day she may possibly be able to exonerate Kenny. She is the oldest person in her law school class, besides Abra (Minnie Driver, "Motherhood"), who becomes her friend and helps her find evidence that could free Kenny. Betty Ann knows that the chances of her first finishing law school and then helping free her brother are not great, but she is determined to try anyway.

I usually like movies that are based on real-life events, and this was no exception, but it was the cast and the way the story was told that helped make it a good film. Swank and Rockwell are pitch-perfect in their roles as brother and sister, and Driver plays a good part as Swank's friend. In addition, Juliette Lewis ("The Switch") has a memorable supporting role as an ex-girlfriend of Kenny's whose testimony helps put him in jail. I really liked the way the story was told - it jumps from present day, to when Kenny and Betty Ann were children, to shortly before Kenny gets put in jail, but it does so without confusing the viewers. This helps the audience get a better sense of who Kenny is - he's not just some "thug" who got convicted of murder.

Yes, see this movie. It was definitely one of the better law/courtroom films that I had seen in a long time, and it was particularly interesting to me that it was based on a true story. I don't doubt that Hilary Swank and perhaps Sam Rockwell will receive Oscar nominations for their roles in "Conviction," and the movie should get an Oscar nod as well.

"Conviction" is already in theaters in some major cities (Boston, Chicago, LA, and NYC) and will be released nationwide on October 22nd (for complete schedule see Fox Searchlight's website).

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