Convinced that her brother, Kenneth (Sam Rockwell), has been unjustly convicted of murder and incompetently defended by court-ordered attorneys, high school dropout Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) puts herself through law school in order to represent him in his appeal. Inspired by a true story, director Tony Goldwyn’s stirring drama also stars Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher and Clea DuVall.
Rating: 8 out of 10
This is the kind of story that is too good for a writer to make up. I loved the idea of a sister being hell-bound to prove the innocence of her brother after he was sentenced to life in prison.
The director, Tony Goldwyn, weaves a nice story, telling both the back story of the brother, the sister, and their childhood. We also get the narrative of the present, as the sister uncovers the mystery of proving her brother’s innocence. I was glued to the story and never bored. It never felt long or drawn out, despite the many legal hurdles they the siblings face throughout.
The performances in this film are excellent. Rockwell and Swank deliver memorable roles. This is a really well made film that didn’t get a lot of love. It should have.
Midwest insurance salesman Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear) hatches a get-rich-quick scheme that depends on him gaining possession of a rare and precious violin, but his planned score results in wild and unexpected consequences. Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup and Lea Thompson co-star in this meditation on lying and its consequences, written by sisters Jill and Karen Sprecher (Thirteen Conversations About One Thing).
Rating: 8 out of 10
The only reason I watched this movie is because it popped out of the Red Box by mistake. I literally knew nothing about this movie when I started watching. But the Red Box machine’s mistake became my surprise fortune. Now that’s good movie karma!
Greg Kinnear leads an excellent cast as a truly unlikable human being. He swindles people in business, cheats on his wife, doesn’t take care of his finances or family, and when pushed to his limits, will cover up a murder. This is one of those movies where there’s no good guy to root for. It’s definitely not filmed like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but the script has the feel of it. Kudos to the Sprecher sisters for writing an intriguing script that unfolds very nicely, keeps the intensity at a great level, and inspires great performances by Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, David Harbour and Lea Thompson.
This is a movie where nothing goes right, there are no heroes, and no possibility of a positive outcome. Sounds bleak, right? Well, it works very well with the balance of some humor. Bad deeds lead to more bad deeds, and they keep piling up. As the audience, we feel the tension build. the danger grow, and the risks get higher. It’s an entertaining movie, for sure.
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