UK Release date: 14th January 2011
Watched on Sky+ Monday 2nd January 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I knew very little about this film before seeing it, in fact I almost gave it a pass as I knew nothing of the case it’s about either. No surprise there really, I don’t think it even featured in news bulletins here in the UK. Needless to say, it’s based on a true story; a powerful drama about a sister who refuses to believe her brother is guilty of murder. I’ll give you my thoughts after this brief summary.
When Kenny Waters is charged with the brutal murder of a woman in 1982 the evidence, plus testimonies from the police and two of his former lovers, are enough to convict him. His sister, Betty Anne Waters, refuses to believe his guilt and sacrifices her marriage and a big chunk of her life to go to law school so she can prove it. There she is befriended by fellow student, Abra Rice, who supports her in her crusade. She eventually passes the bar exam and, as a qualified lawyer, is free to find the evidence that might clear her brother. By now many years have passed and DNA evidence is now permissible in court, but how to locate the original evidence and also get the witnesses to tell the truth? Well, I’ll leave you with that burning question or the Spoiler Police will be fabricating evidence against me (again).
Quite well made with some flashback sequences that (for me) didn’t really work. They seemed to be thrown in at random and only served to break up the flow of the storyline rather than enhance it I’m afraid. Very powerful performances from both Hilary Swank as Betty Anne Waters and Sam Rockwell as Kenny Waters. Honourable mentions must also go to; Minnie Driver as Abra Rice, Melissa Leo as Nancy Taylor, Juliette Lewis as Roseanna Perry and Peter Gallagher as Barry Scheck.
Although it’s quite an inspirational story I’m afraid I found it hard to warm to any of the characters, particularly that of Kenny Waters. I agree that he did not deserve to go to jail, but I didn’t find much sympathy for him; particularly when he’s shown beating a guy up for suggesting that a bar is maybe not the best place to bring his baby daughter. Of course it’s alright in the end because he offers to buy the guy a drink! There is obviously a very strong bond between brother and sister forged from them being brought up in foster homes. I know some will draw great inspiration from this film, but for me, sadly, I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I will still deem it recommend though, but mainly for the performances.
My score: 6.6/10
IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 14,849 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 68/100 (based on 174 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 (based on 30,138 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Kenny Waters: [after seeing the media people and the police surrounding him] What the fuck?
Nancy Taylor: Kenneth Waters? You're under arrest for the murder of Katharina Brow.
Kenny Waters: Are you out of your fucking mind? You let me off two years ago!
Nancy Taylor: We've got you now.
Betty Anne Waters: I don't deserve a friend like you.
Abra Rice: You damn right, you don't!
Nancy Taylor: I'm sorry you wasted your life on this. Your brother killed that woman.
Betty Anne Waters: You are innocent!
Kenny Waters: Are you sure about that?
Betty Anne Waters: [crying] How can you ask me that? How can you ask me that?
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press).
Official Site: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/conviction/