Conviction is based on the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) who puts herself through a law school in order to represent her brother, Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell), who has been wrongfully accused of first degree murder. Of course you already know or at least have an idea about the result of this story but the momentum build-up is interesting enough too keep you focused. While it doesn't rely on a tense atmosphere and thrilling "detective" experience, it manages to impress thanks to the beautifully and detailed characterization of the process which Betty Anne had to go through. There's a clear stamp on what ultimate will and unstoppable ambition could make a man achieve: the ultimate act of (brotherly) love. The story is compelling and feels powerful because you know it's true but it lacks in objectivity and at times it draws too much attention on the flaws and mistakes in the legal system or the lack of interest of the "system" that it almost becomes a manipulative story. Other than that, I don't have many troubles with the story. It's rudimentary but it will definitely convict you to watch it till the end thanks to the both lead impressive performances.
This film heads the lights on the academy award winner Hilary Swank. She deserves some praising and recognition for her deep portrayal of this ridiculously optimistic character and her way of expressing feelings and thoughts through gestures. She's a true fighter that won't give up for anything and won't accept failure in any form. Another impressive performance is Kenny's unstable personality screen adaptation by Rockwell. A very talented actor who made himself known thanks to his roles in "The Assassination of Jesse James" and the science-fiction drama "Moon". He is definitely one of the actors to be watched on this next decade. The problem that irritated me is that while Kenny aged... Betty Anne looked the same for more than 16 years which to me was a little bit awkward. I mean, if you use makeup on Kenny, use it Betty Anne also... don't they age the same?... Just askin'.
Technically the movie was so and so. It tried to combine emotionally engaging shots and great cinematography with "flat" filming, thing that I disliked. There are some contrasts though that I found deeply moving like the empty court-room at the end and the press waiting outside the "liberty" doors. It was a great contrast that pictured the whole movie as what it is. A clear message to human's potential when ambition is higher than the dream itself. Besides that, the music used was too simple and inconsistent to really assimilate it with the picture.
Overall, Conviction is a good movie most people will enjoy thanks to it's true story and powerful performances. It's far from being a stand-out but it's definitely one of the most overlooked pieces of filmmaking this year.
** out of **** Considering its only form of advertisement is selling itself out as being "based on a true story", "Conviction" actually isn't all that bad. There have been worse-much worse- and far more confusing films based on true events; and this one is no more or no less than the usual melodramatic go-around. With that being said, the film essentially leaves out all imagination and true, honest entertainment so that the stars can shine. This is a film with great performances, … more
I went into this film with no preconceptions and no expectations. I knew a little bit about the plot, which follows a woman's attempt to prove her brother's innocence in a murder case after he's been sentenced to life in prison. The film's story is based on actual events, which at first made me think it might be a cheap star-studded film, so I knew it was going to be the predictable "inspirational" type of film that you see so often. However, what was such a pleasant surprise was how wonderful the … more
I absolutely loved this movie. Hillary Swank was awesome as was the rest of the cast. I love movies about dystunctional people as they are so much more interesting than so called "normal" people. This was an awesome story and wonderfully acted. Don't miss it
Opened October 15, 2010 (Limited 10/15) | Runtime:1 hr. 47 min.
language and some violent images
When her older brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in 1983, Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) vows to get the conviction overturned. Beginning an 18-year quest to exonerate Kenny, Betty Anne puts herself through college and law school. With the help of her best friend (Minnie Driver), Betty Anne pores over piles of suspicious evidence and retraces the steps that led to Kenny's arrest in the hope of finally winning her brother's freedom.Read More