It is Thursday night as I write this but I actually saw this out at Havelock North yesterday afternoon. Have spent all day in bed with a migraine so haven't been able to get busy with my fingers earlier.
The flyer to Conviction states that Hillary Swank's performance in this film is so good that she'll be pushing for an Oscar nomination. Maybe, maybe not. She is good but not as good as in Million Dollar Baby. Sam Rockwell is very good. He plays an errant brother with a criminal history that is set up by a vindictive female cop. This sees him wrongfully jailed for murder. The great thing about his role is we are never made to feel sorry for him. Although he is innocent he is still an unsavoury character.
There is something of the Erin Brokovich about Conviction. Poor lower class woman who makes good. It is based on a true story and is better than many critics are reviewing it as. Most of the reviews I have read have called it no more than a made for television movie. I think this is harsh. It isn't the greatest film made sure, but it isn't the worst either, and certainly not in the made for Television catagory.
For me this film is about the story, and doesn't waver from it to be something it isn't meant to be. Story, and the people involved. Swank and Rockwell are very solid and bring real credibility to the point of the film. Swank is very good as a sister who knows her brother, Rockwell, is innocent. After exhausting all legal avenues she decides to go back to school to graduate and then go to law school. It is quite an achievement and takes her 16-18 years to finally get her law degree so she can legally represent her brother.
There are some very moving moments, and like many good films based on people it creates empathy within the viewer. I shall never forget the scene where Swank finally finds the evidence that had so long thought to have been destroyed and that will clear her brother. It is quite good because at that stage of the film it seemed as if all hope had been lost. When it happens you can feel a lift within yourself as you can see what she has put herself through finally coming to fruition. A good film that takes you down into the pits of despair and then pulls you out again.
Overall this isn't in the great realms of films. But it isn't bad either. It has got some very memorable performances. The whole cast is good, and for any male Minnie Driver fans out there then you'll want to see this. At one stage she slips herself into a very nice tight black skirt and boy, for a woman of her age she looks mighty fine! All class and sexy to boot! It is a good story about the failings of the justice system and the incredible fight one woman went to clear her brother. Imagine spending almost two decades of your life in educating yourself to do that. It really was an incredible thing to attempt and achieve. You, as the viewer, really are with her every step of the way, even though her brother was a less than desirabe character. Innocent yes, but no more likable.
And this is what makes the film memorable rather than remarkable. A very good story with some genuinely moving moments, with good performances to back it up. I would recommend you see it at some stage whether on the big screen or not. It is a good watch and better than some would have you believe. The Kiwi audiences I spoke to all agree.