Oh man, can you smell the Oscar bait up in here? Based on a true story? Check. Starring multiple past nominees and winners? Check. Lead actor de-glamorizes to play a “real” person? Check. The drama centers around a legal and/or political problem? Check. If only Conviction was directed by Clint Eastwood; then it could be guaranteed a slew of nominations come next winter.
Based on the true story of siblings Betty Anne Waters and Kenneth Waters, Hillary Swank and Sam Rockwell play the sister and brother, both adopting the stereotypical blue-collar New England accent to drive the point home that they come from a lower class and poorly-educated family. Kenneth is accused of murdering a local woman and sentenced to life in prison. Betty Anne is sure of his innocence, and when they’ve exhausted all of their legal options, she decides to put herself through law school so she can represent her brother.
Of course this will be no easy feat, seeing how Betty Anne is a single mother without even a high school diploma. But if the movies have taught us anything, we all know that no goal is too ambitious if you have guts, determination, and a sassy sidekick (Minnie Driver). So Kenneth cools his heels in jail for several years while Betty Anne toils away, determined to ultimately set him free. Will she succeed? Well, you can either Google “Betty Anne Waters” to find out, or wait until October to see Swank chew up some scenery and Rockwell go through various facial hair phases.
While I’ve got nothing against true crime dramas or stories about overcoming insurmountable odds, Conviction looks just a bit too formulaic, and the trailer just rubs me the wrong way. Is it the cloyingly dramatic prison visitation scenes? Is it that I have never really cared about Hillary Swank? Is it the overused ploy of throwing in the possibility of a corrupt police officer? Or is it those awful accents? Yeah, it’s probably just the accents.
Also starring Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis and Peter Gallagher, “Conviction” is slated to hit theaters Oct. 15.
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