Does the story or the film deserve an Oscar for 2011? The answer is easily uncovered as the curtains closed on Conviction – The Movie. Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver and most notably Hilary Swank did a fascinating job sharing their life long skills as actors on the journey and struggle of Bette Anne Waters.
Having the privilege of viewing the film at the Director’s Guild of America theater in New York City might have added to the lost age of innocence that the Waters’ story demonstrates. This country is filed with shattered dreams – especially in a recession. Typically, crushed youth and innocence is broken by some ego seeking, career hopping individual breaking society’s rules to get ahead – Anthony Mozilo from Countrywide comes to mind. Kenny Waters (played by Rockwell) is hosed by a lady cop in a manly, mostly white police force. Race, gender and poverty threw Waters into jail. Technology partly set him free.
Look at your own community to know why Conviction-The Movie should win an Oscar. In Denver, a much larger place than Ayer, Massachusets the police department was wonderfully shown this summer to be morally misguided in it’s tactics on basic law and order processes. Unlike Ayer’s police force, Denver’s is a multi-cultural one overseen supposedly by an equally diverse legal system. It is also noted as one of the worst police forces nationally forcing lawyers to choose daily between doing what is right or what is wrong for their own gain. As citizens we expect our laws to keep us safe.
Eighteen years ago, Rodney King glared across our airwaves and nearly 45 years ago Los Angeles was on fire in Watts. Lawyers like Barry Scheck (also known for his role with O.J. Simpson), have evolved our legal system. Bette Anne Waters (played by Swank), uneducated initially, tirelessly took her fondness and familial love for a brother to an unprecedented level by anyone’s standards. She gave up almost everything for freedom, justice and liberty for one person.
Some movies should enlighten, expand, entertain and most important inspire audiences into action. Bette Anne Waters dedicated her life to her brother’s innocence. It was her journey from poverty to the legal system and now what is left of the big screen that should resonate with audiences. The excellent performances by Swank, Rockwell, and Driver lay out clearly, through cinema, a story that easily could have been overlooked like hidden DNA. Make no mistake this film is an Oscar waiting to happen.