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Conviction [Blu-ray]

 Unrated   Blu-ray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 15.53
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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Once is even too much March 10 2011
I love watching movies based on true stories. Changeling was among my favourites. So when I heard about this movie, I immediately picked it up without any hesitation.

I watched it, and found it a bit long and in the end, uninteresting. I feel as though I lost 2 hours of my life on a movie that could have been much more interesting. This movie is by far boring and I couldn't get attached to any characters in there and could care less about what happened to them.

You might want to stay clear of this one.
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By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Conviction (drama, biography)
Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Starring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver and Melissa Leo

20th Century Fox | 2010 | 102 min | Rated R | Released Feb 01, 2011

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

English SDH, Spanish

Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc

The Film 3.5/5

Conviction tells the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Swank) and her 18-year fight to free her brother Kenny (Rockwell), who was convicted of murder. She was a young woman with two children, working in a bar at the time of Kenny's conviction. Instead of accepting it, she decided to study law part-time so that she could access evidence and fight the case on his behalf.

The story is told with the use of a few flashbacks. The first shows us how Kenny is arrested by police officer Nancy Taylor (Leo), while others show us the relationship between Kenny and Betty Anne when they were small children. Kenny is originally cleared of suspicion, but is arrested a second time two years later. After a series of damning testimonies, he receives a life sentence.

Both siblings struggle to adjust. Kenny tries to commit suicide in prison and Betty Anne almost flunks her class. She splits with her boyfriend and is dismayed when her two boys ask to live with their father because she doesn't spend enough time with them. Imagine having to give up your children in that way. Her decision to help her brother consumed her.

Betty Anne is given new hope when she learns in school that DNA testing has freed other wrongly-convicted prisoners.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many awards! Feb. 8 2011
By Tammy
The film won so many awards because the plot grips you and the story tugs on your heart like no other. It's more than just a drama, its suspenseful, intriguing and it keeps you guessing right to the very end...and it's a pleasantly happy end condsidering.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  102 reviews
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Determination Borders On Obsession--An Undeniably Appealing, But Flawed, Underdog Story Oct. 28 2010
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
A sure-fire crowd pleaser, the film "Conviction" is based on an undeniably (and practically unbelievable) compelling true life story. Betty Anne Waters, a high school drop-out with a troubled youth, dedicated nearly two decades of her life to clear her unjustly convicted brother of a murder charge. She got a GED, applied and got into college, graduated law school and passed the bar, became her brother's representation and uncovered exculpatory evidence. But despite all her best efforts, it was still quite a trial to be heard and taken seriously. While I've thrown a lot of the film's plot at you right away, the advertising campaign already covers the same ground. This is a movie about character and the long road to justice as seen through Betty Anne's eyes (an imposing Hilary Swank). Far from a perfect movie, however, I'm sure audience will still embrace this--the ultimate underdog story.

Swank, as I mentioned, headlines this piece with a hard edged perseverance. She is quite believable as the matter-of-fact Betty Anne. Sam Rockwell plays her brother, the town troublemaker, with equal parts charm and menace. It's perhaps the film's most compelling performance and there are moments when he sinks to desperation that have real emotional resonance. Minnie Driver befriends Swank in law school, and though their friendship is contrived at best, she becomes a welcome presence in the film. She stands as the one truly appealing character as Swank's mania borders on selfishness and Rockwell is an unstable powder keg. Ironically, the film wants to continuously solicit sympathy for its leads without confronting the unpleasant truths--particularly that Rockwell was a violent repeat offender whom the entire town was able to embrace as a cold blooded killer.

My biggest concern about "Conviction" had little to do with the actual search for justice and everything to do with Betty Anne's character. She pursues her goal steadfastly--to the ruination of her marriage and the alienation of her children. Her conviction, as it were, has turned to obsession and every waking moment of her life in the film is dedicated to this one specific purpose. I can't help but think that the film necessarily glosses over some of the more unpleasant aspects of this pursuit. We get little of Swank's husband, her kids seem mildly annoyed once but are fine with their mother's lack of family focus, and there are never any concerns at work. More telling, Swank hasn't had a relationship with her beloved brother's daughter in all the time he's been in prison. I understand that such a relationship might have been complicated, but the film doesn't even try to explain her complete lack of concern over this family bond. She calls her niece near the end of the film and actually says in the message-- "you may not remember me." Wow! Seems like some of her dogged determination might have been applied to other relationships as well!

But, again, I don't think any of this will matter to most. At heart, there is no escaping the facts of "Conviction" and they present a uniquely fascinating story. The little guy sticking it to the man, David versus Goliath, "never quit"--man, I'm practically cheering myself. "Conviction" is a good film filled with earnest performances (a drunk Juliette Lewis is inspired) told in standard biopic format. I don't think it digs quite far enough into the characterizations, but the story sells itself. Fascinating, scary, frustrating, and even inspiring--the Betty Anne Waters saga was begging to be represented on the big screen! KGHarris, 10/10.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, So-So Film-making Nov. 20 2010
By D. Barbour - Published on Amazon.com
Hilary Swank returns to the big screen in another strong female role as Betty Anne Waters, the real life every day hero who changed the course of her life for a family member. Set primarily in Massachusetts, the Waters case revolves around the murder of a woman and the conviction of Kenny Waters (played by Sam Rockwell) - a lowlife type whose only real attributes are his daughter and his sister Betty. Believing he is innocent of the heinous crime, Betty Anne Waters spends numerous years going to college, law school, and then in investigation of the crime she truly doesn't believe her brother committed.

Many viewers may already know the ending if they remember the news coverage around the event - much of which involved recently re-elected Attorney General Martha Coakley (who is portrayed only briefly on screen in the film). If you know the outcome - which is a twist in itself - this movie is still worth seeing for the great acting from Swank and Rockwell. If you don't know the ending going in, don't read anything else about the film as the payoff will be that much greater.

Technically the film is a little choppy - the editing, pace, and supporting character development left quite a bit to be desired. That being said, the story itself is so fascinating and compelling that forgiving the films technical flaws becomes quite easy. I would suggest checking this one out. It's a lot like A Civil Action with John Travolta, but not quite as good.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swank Is Back with a Sharp Cast in an Inspiring Fact-Based Story Bordering on Incredulity Oct. 23 2010
By Ed Uyeshima - Published on Amazon.com
After making decidedly wrong turns into rom-com in 2007's P.S. I Love You and historical biopic in 2009's Amelia, Hilary Swank is back in her element as Betty Anne Waters, a working-class single mother of two whose fierce loyalty to her troublemaking brother Kenny knows no bounds, in actor/director Tony Goldwyn's time-spanning, fact-based 2010 drama. Written by Pamela Gray (she and Goldwyn also collaborated on 1999's affecting A Walk on the Moon), the inspiring, potentially melodramatic plotline often borders on incredulity, but Swank's trademark iron-jawed tenacity is on full display here. At the same time, it's a primarily economic performance teetering on lunacy as her character is tightly bound to Kenny since they shared a painful childhood due to the neglect of a horrifying mother.

In 1983, Kenny is convicted of the bloody murder of an elderly neighbor largely on the basis of testimony from two former girlfriends, both of whom claimed he confessed his actions to them. Neither Kenny nor Betty Anne can afford a good attorney, so she decides to become a lawyer even though she's a high school dropout. Also serving as one of the film's executive producers, Swank come back securely to the against-all-odds territory of Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby (2004) by following Betty Anne's sixteen-year journey from her GED through college, then law school, and finally passing the bar - all while she was raising two boys and working part-time at a local pub. The ending is predictable from a mile away, but the journey is not. The introduction of DNA evidence provides a linchpin that spins the story close to Lifetime-level dramatics, especially when Betty Ann solicits the assistance of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization devoted to overturning wrongful convictions. Gray's screenplay is solid enough, and Goldwyn's direction is assured within the back-and-forth treatment of the timeline.

However, it's really the acting that is aces here. Beyond Swank's sterling work, Sam Rockwell brings an unpredictable furor and a surprising vulnerability to the showier role of Kenny. His rapport with Swank never feels forced, and the devotion of their sibling relationship is what really grounds the threat of hysterics in the film. The periphery is populated by a powerful squad of actresses turning in sharply etched work - Minnie Driver as Betty Ann's law-school friend Abra, whose comic spark highlights how pivotal her character is in representing the audience viewpoint; Melissa Leo (Frozen River) as the malevolent arresting cop, whose secretive hostility provides the impetus for Kenny's conviction; Juliette Lewis as Kenny's dentally-challenged ex-girlfriend with a drunken confession scene that reveals the actress's long-forgotten raw talent below her usual giddiness; Karen Young in a brief scene as the unforgivable Mrs. Waters; and Ari Graynor (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist) as Kenny's embittered grown daughter. It's the cast's cumulative work that makes this movie intensely watchable.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful true story about a man wrongly convicted and the woman trying to free him. Very inspirational and moving. I say A Jan. 31 2011
By Tony Heck - Published on Amazon.com
A true story about a sister (Swank) knowing that her brother (Rockwell) who is prison for murder is innocent and fighting to prove it. Two years after being questioned and let go in a murder case Kenny Waters (Rockwell) is convicted and is sent away for life. Knowing that he is innocent Betty Anne Waters (Swank) attends law school in order to become her brothers lawyer. This is one powerful movie. I've always thought that Sam Rockwell is a very underrated actor and in this movie he gives a powerful performance. The fact that this is a true story makes this movie all the more inspiring, moving and gut wrenching. This is a must see and I don't want to give anything away, but this movie explores and exposes the flaws in the legal system. This movie is a roller-coaster ride of emotion that will make you address your feelings on the subject matter and root for justice to prevail. Watch this film!!! I give it an A.

Would I watch it again? - Yes, I would make some people I know watch it too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watch it for the Acting July 8 2011
By Edwin C. Pauzer - Published on Amazon.com
"Conviction" is the story of one woman's fight to have her brother's conviction for murder overturned and have him released.

A brother and sister are raised in a dysfunctional family where they receive little structure or discipline. Breaking into homes and stealing things become their barren source of amusement and excitement. It also gets the older brother in trouble with the law at an early age, but the bond between brother and sister have already been established and remains as they mature in society with the sister, Betty Ann Waters remaining within the norms of society married, raising a family and tending bar. Her brother, Kenny, played by Sam Rockwell is another matter, as he is quick to brawl and thumb his nose at society.

Betty Ann Waters', played by Hillary Swank is turned upside down when her brother is convicted of a murder she is certain he did not commit. There is only one thing for her to do. She must get her high school equivalency diploma, graduate from college and law school, pass the bar and get her brother's case reopened. She manages all of these things at the expense of her marriage and alienation of her children.

We see Counselor Waters struggle to get each piece of evidence to find the smoking gun that will lead to her brother's eventual release. This appeals to the audience's sense of justice and respect for the loyalty and industry shown by one sister toward her brother. Sam Rockwell plays his part as a chameleon, loving father and brother with a big heart, to the impulsive ne'er-do-well who is hard to cheer for his exoneration with the same passion, even though you feel his frustration with one setback and disappointment after another. Both bring intensity to their roles, but Rockwell is given more leeway in demonstrating his talent.

Then there's Juliette Lewis who plays the ex girlfriend and current hard drinking and smoking trailer trash, who would have stolen the show if she had more script to play. Playing a half-inebriated slob in need of dental work, you are convinced she is a pathetic character only concerned about her. Melissa Leo also turns in a superb performance as the unrepentant cop you love to hate. Minnie Driver returns to Massachusetts from her previous role as Matt Damon's boyfriend in "Good Will Hunting," becoming a friend to Betty Ann, and assisting her legally and emotionally in her quest.

"Conviction" is original and based on a true story which means, in this case, that it actually happened. I judge many movies based upon my willingness or desire to see them a second time, and I am very glad to have seen this, but I do not plan on watching it again. There are no lines or scenes that will give me a greater personal connection or tie loose ends. A breathtaking story in real life, it doesn't quite achieve breathtaking status in film.

Watch it for the acting.
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