DVD Review: Conviction
DVD Release Date: February 1st, 2010
Rated 14A for coarse language and some disturbing images
Running time: 107 minutes
Tony Goldwyn (dir.)
Pamela Gray (writer)
Paul Cantelon (music)
Hilary Swank as Betty Anne Waters
Sam Rockwell as Kenny Waters
Minnie Driver as Abra Rice
Melissa Leo as Nancy Taylor
Our reviews below:
Conviction DVD Review By John C.
*** (out of 4)
In the early 1980′s, Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Unable to afford a lawyer, his sister Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) devoted her life to studying law, so she could eventually prove his innocence. With the help of her friend and classmate, Abra Rice (Minnie Driver), they found themselves caught up in an 18 year battle with the Massachusetts legal system.
Although parts of director Tony Goldwyn’s rendering of the inspiring true story feel better suited to a TV production, Conviction rarely feels manipulative and is anchored by strong performances, namely from Swank and Rockwell who believably portray siblings. Although I must admit that it is often only good where it could have been great, this is still a moving and emotionally effecting film that is worth seeing on DVD.
The DVD includes an interview with the real Betty Anne Waters.
Conviction DVD Review By Erin V.
***1/2 (out of 4)
Based on a true story, Conviction is about Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell), who is accused and convicted of the brutal murder of his elderly neighbour. When he upholds his innocence, his sister Betty-Anne (Hilary Swank), goes to law school in order to become his lawyer and prove he is telling the truth.
The story is paced well enough and the acting from the principal actors is all good. Sensitive viewers should be aware that the opening scene does show the crime-scene in fairly graphic detail, although it is easy enough to look away during this part. Other than that, those who enjoy a good legal drama, will definitely want to check this one out.
Conviction DVD Review By Nicole
***1/2 (out of 4)
How far would you go to save a family member? Conviction tells the incredible true story of one woman’s 18 year effort to free her brother from a prison sentence of first degree murder. The story begins in the early 1980’s, when a small Massachusetts town is hit by a grisly murder. Quick to solve the case, the police convict Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell), a local man with a history of minor offences. His sister, Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) doesn’t think her brother is capable of such an atrocity, but he can’t afford a lawyer to free himself from life in prison. So Betty Anne heads off to law school to become a lawyer, so she can gather new evidence to try to clear Kenny’s name.
Conviction is fascinating from start to finish. We see just how much Betty Anne sacrifices to help her brother. The acting is believable, never delving into melodrama or cliché. Intelligent and heartfelt, Conviction is a powerful film about family, standing up for what is right, and the unbreakable bond between siblings.
Conviction DVD Review By Maureen
*** (out of 4)
Conviction is a powerful story of extraordinary sibling devotion. This true story follows Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) a Massachusetts man convicted of first degree murder, and his sister Betty Anne (Hilary Swank), who believed that while he was capable of many things, cold-blooded murder was not one of them. For 18 long and difficult years, the single mother devoted her life to returning to school so she could become a lawyer and fight Kenny’s wrongful conviction.
The story of Conviction is inspiring. What makes the movie version engaging is the superb acting by both Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell. Together they carry the at times slow-moving film. Also nice to watch is Minnie Driver’s performance as Betty Anne’s fellow law student, Abra Rice.
Those who enjoy crime solving stories or are fans of the lead actors will want to check out Conviction. The DVD includes an interview with the real Betty Anne Waters.
Conviction DVD Review By Tony
**1/2 (out of 4)
Conviction is based on the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank), a single mother who spent nearly two decades working her way through law school to attempt to overcome the 1983 conviction of her brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) for murder. The film opens on the crime scene followed by an incredulous Kenny being pulled in for questioning by dour Officer Taylor (Melissa Leo). Through flashbacks we see the difficult childhood of Betty Anne and Kenny, born to a neglectful mother, in and out of foster care, relying only on each other as they often got into mischief. As a young man, Kenny maintained a tenuous if good-natured relationship with the local authorities as his impulsivity often got him in trouble. The subsequent trial convicting him to life imprisonment based on matching blood type and incriminating testimony from his former wife and girlfriend awakened the obsession in his sister that cost her her marriage and valuable time with her two sons but won her a fine education and the friendship and support of fellow mature student Abra Rice (Minnie Driver). We are kept guessing almost to the end about Kenny’s innocence, let alone possible exoneration, as DNA may have already been destroyed, and testimony may be difficult to challenge.
With gripping performances from Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell supported by a fine cast in a good script, Conviction combines a great story of sibling love and support with the suspense of a murder mystery.
Consensus: Anchored by strong performances, Conviction tells an inspiring true story of the unbreakable bond between siblings. Even though its pace is sometimes a little slow, this is a moving film that is worth seeing on DVD. *** (Out of 4)