Film Review: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell Suffer From a Lack of ‘Conviction’

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CHICAGO – The United States, with the largest prison population in the Western world, obviously has used the system to incarcerate undesirables in the society, whether they are guilty or not. The access to real justice is played out in the cumbersome “Conviction,” featuring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver and Melissa Leo. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

Conviction is the based-on-truth story of Betty Anne Walters (Hilary Swank), whose brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) is accused of murder in the early 1980s. When circumstantial evidence and flimsy testimony still garners a conviction, Betty Anne makes a promise to herself to find a way to free Kenny, and begins a journey that takes her to a new path.

Kenny is shown to be a wild man, barely in control, as the flashbacks of he and Betty Anne’s difficult childhood illustrates. When the murder of one his former girlfriends occur, the suspicion immediately points to him. Although he has an airtight alibi, it is the efforts of local law enforcement, as represented by Officer Nancy Taylor (Melissa Leo), and a parade of damning testimony that sends Kenny to prison.

When Betty Anne makes her promise to Kenny to free him, she actually goes to law school to learn how to do it, despite having a marriage and two children. In the classroom she meets the flighty Abra (Minnie Driver) and it is their alliance that eventually begins the process that will get Kenny off. Betty Anne is willing to sacrifice everything, including her marriage, to complete the cycle of justice.

Modern science meets sheer determination as the new technology of DNA testing could be the key to Kenny’s freedom. Betty Anne and Abra then get help from attorney Barry Scheck (Peter Gallagher), who runs a Boston law society aimed at releasing innocent victims. Betty Anne and Kenny now have a chance to be reunited.

“Conviction” opens everywhere on October 15th. Featuring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo and Peter Gallagher. Screenplay by Pamela Gray, directed by Tony Goldwyn. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Conviction”

Sister and Brother: Hilary Swank as Betty Anne and Sam Rockwell as Kenny in ‘Conviction’
Sister and Brother: Hilary Swank as Betty Anne and Sam Rockwell as Kenny in ‘Conviction’
Photo Credit: Ron Batzdorff for © Fox Searchlight Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Conviction”

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