Based on the highly publicized Kenneth Waters case in Massachusetts, Conviction chronicles the series of events between his 1983 arrest and life sentence up to the 2001 overturn of his conviction. With Oscar hungry performances by Sam Rockwell, Hilary Swank, Minnie Driver, and Juliette Lewis, this tale of unwavering faith and devotion hits theaters this Friday.

Check out the review below…

The Players:

  • Director: Tony Goldwyn
  • Writer: Pamela Gray
  • Cast: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Juliet Lewis, Melissa Leo
  • Producers: Andrew Sugerman, Andrew Karsch, Tony Goldwyn
  • Director of Photography: Adriano Goldman

The Plot:

In 1983, prior to the admissibility of DNA evidence in court, Kenneth Waters (Rockwell) was arrested for the murder of local waitress Katharina Brow. His sister, Betty Anne (Swank) an unemployed single mom and high school drop out, is convinced her brother is innocent. She embarks on an 18 year quest, which involves putting herself through high school, college, and law school in hopes of exonerating her brother.

The Good:

(***SPOILERS Below***)

  • The Story: Betty Anne’s journey is an extraordinary one. Ultimately compromising her marriage, children, and sanity this woman’s unrelenting spirit and faith in her brother’s innocence hauls her through an 18 year battle for the truth. She stopped at nothing, jumping through hoops to track down DNA evidence that had allegedly been destroyed, convincing former witnesses to admit they’d been bribed by local police officers to fabricate their testimonies – the list goes on. Bottom line, this woman is a bad ass.
  • Authenticity: What’s particularly moving about this film is the authenticity factor. For “cinematic” purposes parts of the story were mildly restructured, but nothing regarding the plot is embellished or heightened – these people are giving you the real deal.
  • Juliette Lewis: Goldwyn scored the creme de la creme with this ensemble of actors, no doubt. That being said, I have to note the two short but incredibly stirring scenes Ms. Lewis was involved in – both, by far, upstaged every performance in the film.

The Bad:

  • Length: Backstory is critical for a film like Conviction. One, there are a number of convoluted plot logistics that warrant explanations. Two, the “pay off” is far more affective because the characters are well exposed. That being said, the film still feels unbearably long. The suspense is great, the unraveling of the story is well executed, but by the time you’re exiting the theater you’ll feel like you spent all 18 years of school with Betty Anne. It’s an exhausting 103 minutes.


The story is moving and the acting is excellent. The only glowing issue with this film is the length. I presume it’s the major factor that will make or break audience opinions.

Rating: 6/10

Conviction opens in theaters on October 15th

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Are you interested in seeing Conviction or any other movies out this weekend?