On-Camera Review: Conviction

by Eric Melin on October 29, 2010

in Video Reviews

Here’s my video review of the drama“Conviction” starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell from KTKA-49.

The best moments in the new drama “Conviction” are between Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, who play siblings that were separated by child services as kids. As adults, they’re separated again when the brother is found guilty of murder and is sentenced to life in prison.

There are essentially three stories going on in this movie, which is based on the true story of Betty Anne Waters, a working-class woman who put herself through law school just so she could free her brother—who she felt was wrongly convicted.

The first story is the most realized. Told out of order in a series of flashbacks, the bond between brother and sister is strong. Since their parents aren’t around, all Betty Anne and Kenny have is each other. Once Kenny is put behind bars, the scenes between Rockwell and Swank are super-charged with emotion.

The second story is one of obsession–Betty Anne’s—as she alienates friends and family in her singular quest to get Kenny out of jail. Swank is a ball of focused energy, and she’s so blinded by her mission that she refuses to accept that her brother may actually be guilty—a possibility that is handled with welcome ambiguity at times.

The third story is one we’ve seen too many times, especially in made-for-TV movies. Betty Anne’s friend, played by Minnie Driver, provides comic relief and constant support through all the roadblocks and letdowns of the legal system. A big-time lawyer gets involved and all of Betty’s hard work is rewarded.

But because the setup is so carefully realized and these characters so well drawn, it’s easier to forgive the part of the movie that seems too familiar.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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