Movie Review: CONVICTION - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Terry's Takes

Movie Review: CONVICTION

Posted: Updated:

The new movie, "Conviction" stars Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank, but I can't recommend it.
 
The film is based on the true story of a high school dropout who put herself through law school to help her brother who was serving a life term for a murder he didn't commit.
     
That good story has somehow been turned into a plodding, formulaic movie. The terrific actors do what they can with a by-the-numbers script, but it's not enough.
 
 Sam Rockwell plays Kenny, a charming, irresponsible young man who is arrested and then convicted for a murder he didn't commit. As he is escorted from the courtroom his sister yells, "We'll get you out Kenny! You hear me?"
 
 Thus begins an 18 year long saga in which Kenny's sister Betty Anne, played by Hilary Swank, devotes her entire life to finding a way to prove her brother's innocence.
     
In prison, Kenny attempts suicide which only strengthens Betty Anne's dogged determination to get him out.
 Their situation is the stuff of melodrama. and when truth is more unlikely than fiction, what can a filmmaker do to make it seem real?  Director Tony
Goldwyn never finds an answer to that question.
       
 What does work in this movie are the performances.
Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell are first rate actors who do everything they can to make us believe the story. And Juliette Lewis is convincing as a girlfriend of Kenny who testified against him.

Betty Anne's obsession, is admirable but it's also so extreme that it wrecks her marriage and comes close to ruining her only friendship with a law school classmate played by Minnie driver.
 
"Conviction" is supposed to be inspiring, but for me it was exasperating. I would much rather have watched a documentary about the real people who went through this long ordeal.