Conviction Cinema

In C, Films by Marcia Degia - Publisher

Everyone loves a courtroom drama. Watching a glossed up version of
trials can be enormous fun when there’s a bit of injustice, family
conflict and a shouty judge. Conviction contains two of those three
elements and makes the most of being a not too original film but unlike
the endless supply of John Grisham adaptations, Conviction is based on a
true story.

In 1983, Kenny Waters (Rockwell) was convicted of murdering a
young woman three years earlier. Despite damning testimonies from
several people including Kenny’s ex-girlfriend, the town is certain that
Kenny, always the bad apple getting into trouble, is guilty. Except his
sister Betty Anne (Swank) who’s determined to prove his innocence by
any means necessary despite being a single mother with no discernable
qualifications as a lawyer.
She puts herself through law school and
systematically fights every obstacle that stands in her way whether it’s
lost evidence or dodgy police officers.

This is the kind of story Hollywood laps up and even though
it has its saccharine and obvious moments in which it desperately wants
to force tears to fall from the viewers eyes, it’s hard not to get
caught up in it. To know that Betty Anne fought relentlessly for almost
20 years is an incredible feat and should be admired. Kenny is the more
realistic of the two as he slowly loses faith and eventually gives up
only to be given an ear bashing by his sister who refuses to let go. At
times she seems just too perfect to be true; her marriage collapses and
even her children ask to live with their dad as she is always
disappointing them.

With her family falling apart, Betty Anne does find unlikely support from Abra (Driver),
a fellow law student who helps her through the case and its subsequent
years. Minnie Driver provides a much needed light-hearted touch as the
feisty but honest friend who tells Betty Anne what she doesn’t want to
hear. She steals the show and is a joy watch. It may be overtly negative
to say but Swank is clearly after her third best actress Oscar and
does, as you’d expect, a good job but she doesn’t give you much to root
for since it’s obvious that she prevails in the end. Rockwell has a bit
more to bite into as his belief slowly wavers and he undergoes a
physical transformation unlike Swank who looks the same for 20 years.

Try as much as you like, but the Oscar-baiting Conviction and
it’s rich characters will drag you in and make you care about the
obvious, happy ending even if the feeling is fleeting as a yet another
John Grisham novel.