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Two-time Academy Award® winner Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell deliver unforgettable performances in this incredible true story that co-stars Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis and Peter Gallagher. Swank plays Betty Anne Waters, a young woman whose world is shattered when her beloved brother Kenny Rockwell is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Steadfastly convinced of his innocence, Betty Anne embarks on an 18-year journey to set Kenny free, using state-of-the-art forensic technology. The unshakable bond between a brother and sister, at the heart of this real-life drama, will stir your emotions and inspire you.
Hilary Swank gives another tremendous performance--steely, determined, vulnerable--in the courtroom/family drama Conviction. The film is based on a real case, of Betty Anne Waters Swank, who as a last resort puts herself through law school to take on the case of her brother, Kenny Sam Rockwell, also outstanding. Kenny is convicted of murder, despite a weak prosecution case, but Betty Anne can't get any lawyer to explore a retrial or appeal. Director Tony Goldwyn Dexter, Damages keeps the action moving along crisply and believably, even during the almost interminable stretches of Kenny's imprisonment. The terrific script by Pamela Gray Music of the Heart weaves in occasional shadows of doubt about whether Kenny is actually innocent, so that a story that could be formulaic is anything but. The viewer isn't sure most of the way through Conviction if Kenny is guilty or not--but is completely swept up in Swank's incredible performance depicting Betty Anne's own conviction--that "you do anything for your family. Period." As she did in Boys Don't Cry, Swank puts her own gritty spin on a real-life character, whom she inhabits like a second skin. Her Betty Anne is a blue-collar pit bull, and her sheer determination is itself a force of nature. The supporting cast of Conviction also shines, including Minnie Driver as Betty Anne's law school pal, and an especially effective Juliette Lewis playing Kenny's broken-down ex-girlfriend, who's buried some secrets of her own. Also a standout is Melissa Leo as the policewoman whose initial arrest of Kenny might have been loaded with her own agenda. The chemistry, especially between Rockwell, a man very nearly defeated after years behind bars, and Swank, is palpable and will capture the viewer in intense dramatic territory that won't be soon forgotten. --A.T. Hurley