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Film:  Conviction

Rated:  R

Playing at:  Showcase Cinemas Worcester North

Review by Dan Barbour

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 her brother. 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 Massachusetts 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 give Conviction a 7.5 out of 10.

Family Take: The movie is rated R for brief grisly images of the crime scene in question and for quite a bit of profanity. Older teenagers could handle the story, but younger teens and children should seek entertainment elsewhere.

If You Like Conviction Try: The movie this most reminded me of is John Travolta’s A Civil Action. Also set locally, this is another very compelling true life story involving water contamination and the dramatic legal battle that followed.