Categories Movies

Movie Reviews: Conviction

Originally titled Betty Anne Waters, Fox changed the name of director Tony Goldwyn’s rich and layered drama to Conviction, presumably to avoid the inevitable Julia Roberts/Erin Brockovich comparisons Hilary Swank will surely get when she’s honored with an Oscar nomination next year. Swank, already a two-time winner, plays a working- class mother of two from Boston who struggles—for 18 years—to get her brother Kenneth (Sam Rockwell, also Oscar bait) out of a life sentence for a murder he didn’t commit. First, she’ll need to get her GED, her BA, go to law school, and pass the bar exam, at which point she’ll reopen a 16-year-old case and appeal the verdict. Although we already know the outcome—the film is based on a true story—it’s a thrill to watch Swank do battle, particularly when she takes on her own Scylla and Charybdis, the policewoman who arrested Kenny (Melissa Leo) and the trial’s key witness (a deliciously crazy Juliette Lewis). Expect serious traction from this one come awards season. —Nick Haramis