Movie Review: A True Story of Exoneration

By Mitchell, Danielle R. | Judicature, November/December 2010 | Go to article overview

Movie Review: A True Story of Exoneration


Mitchell, Danielle R., Judicature


Movie review: A true story of exoneration

Conviction (2010, 1 hr. 46 min.), directed by Tony Goldwyn, written by Pamela Gray and distributed by Fox Searchlight

On May 11, 1983, Kenny Walers was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Conviction is a true story based on Betty Anne Waters' unrelenting devotion to prove her brother's innocence and free him from prison. Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) was convicted of brutally murdering his neighbor. Katharina Re i l z BIOW, based largely on the testimony of two former girlfriends who testified he had confessed the murder to them. Watching her brother struggle with prison lile and unable to afford a good attorney. Belly Anni- (Hilan Swank) goes back to school to get her GED, enrolls in college, and doesn't give up until obtaining a J. D. and passing the Massachusetts Bai Exam.

While in law school, she learns Barn' Scheck of the Innocence Project is using UNA analysis on blood evidence to exonerate countless men, who, like Kenny, had been falsely convicied. So, il doesn't takelong for Betty Aline to seek out Barry Scheck (Peter Gallagher) to take on Kenny's case. However, before die Innocence Project can become involved, the blood evidence presented at trial needs to be located for testing. Finding the evidence from a trial that occurred over 15 years earlier proves to be an arduous task at best, but the movie isn't so cleverly titled "Conviction" for nothing. Even after learning the evidence had been destroyed years ago, Betty Anne slicks to lier M. O. and presses on. Cou n t Jess phone calls and a persona) trip to the county courthouse later, the evidence is finally unearthed.

Although the movie focuses primarily on Bett)' Anne's emotional journey, it has a second premise - inform the viewer about the great si rides the Innocence Project has taken to help exonerate hundreds of men (26] to be exact), who have been falsely convicted of crimes they did not commit, using DNA analysis. The movie does a good job, but unfortunately it skated through the trial evidence. It was obvious the writer and director had a motive, to focus solely on Kenny's dire situation and die helplessness he must have felt. …

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