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Conviction (2010)

aka Conviction

"An extraordinary journey of how far we go to fight for our family."

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 107 mins · English · R (USA)

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Cast:

Small Betty Anne Waters
Small Abra Rice
Small Young Betty Anne
Small Rick Miller
Small Aidan
No_movie_poster Officer Boisseau
No_movie_poster Neighborhood Boy
No_movie_poster Gum chewing girl
No_movie_poster Lieutenant Daniels
No_movie_poster Richard
No_movie_poster Don
No_movie_poster Admissions Counselor
No_movie_poster Law Student
No_movie_poster Ray
No_movie_poster State Trooper
No_movie_poster Kathleen Higgins
No_movie_poster Desk Sergeant
No_movie_poster Reporter #2
No_movie_poster Ben (as Owen Cambpell)
No_movie_poster Judge Freeum
No_movie_poster Dr. McGilvray
No_movie_poster Huy Dao
No_movie_poster Young Kenny
Small Kenny Waters
Small Roseanna Perry
Small Mandy Marsh
Small Brenda Marsh
Small Barry Scheck
Small Nancy Taylor
Small

Crew:

No_movie_poster Adriano Goldman Cinematography
No_movie_poster Alwyn Kushner Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Andrew S. Karsch Producer
No_movie_poster Andrew Sugerman Producer
No_movie_poster Anthony Callie Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Dama Claire Producer
No_movie_poster Ed Cathell III Producer
Small Hilary Swank Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Jay Cassidy Editor
No_movie_poster Jay Cassidy Editing
No_movie_poster Markus Barmettler Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Pamela Gray Writer
No_movie_poster Paul Cantelon Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Tim Smith Executive Producer
Small Tony Goldwyn Director
Small Tony Goldwyn Production

Taglines:

"An extraordinary journey of how far we go to fight for our family."

Plot:

The film is based on the true story of Betty Anne Waters, a single mother who works tirelessly to free her wrongfully convicted brother Kenny. The story unfolds in flashbacks, and the film opens with the scene of a brutal murder in Massachusetts in 1980. We soon see that Betty Anne's life in many ways revolves around her brother, who is now in jail for the murder. Despite Kenny's knack for getting in trouble, they have always been close. Two years after his release as a suspect in the 1980 murder of Katharina Brow in Ayer, Massachusetts, "new" testimony from two witnesses lead police to arrest Kenny and he is tried. Based on this circumstantial evidence, Kenny is convicted in 1983 of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. The three main witnesses against him are Sergeant Nancy Taylor (Melissa Leo) from the local police department, his ex-wife, Brenda (Clea DuVall), and his ex-girlfriend, Roseanna (Juliette Lewis).

Three years later, Betty Anne lives with her husband, Rick (Loren Dean) and two sons, Richard and Ben. She is frantic that she has not heard from Kenny, who calls her every week, and she is finally told that he tried to commit suicide in prison. Betty Anne decides to go back to school and become a lawyer so she can free him, but her husband is skeptical and unsupportive, and eventually they split up. As Betty Anne struggles with being a working mother going to law school at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, we see flashbacks of her life growing up with Kenny. Their mother was callous and uncaring, allowing her nine children (by seven different fathers) to grow up almost feral. Kenny and Betty Anne were very close, and used to break into neighborhood homes together just to feel like part of a normal family, until they were sent to separate foster homes. She continues to visit him, working in a bar while going to school, until her sons decide to move in with their Dad. Struggling in school, demoralized and exhausted, she stops going to classes, until a friend from school (Minnie Driver), comes to her house and prods her to just get up, get dressed, and get back to class.

In her study group, Betty Anne learns about the new field of DNA testing and realizes this could be the key to overturning Kenny's conviction. She contacts attorney Barry Scheck from the Innocence Project. The backlog of cases will mean waiting more than a year unless she can pass the bar and find the blood evidence from Kenny's trial herself to have it tested. At first she is stonewalled, then told the evidence was destroyed, but she refuses to give up, and she and her friend Abra (Minnie Driver) embark on an odyssey to recover any evidence that might still be stored away somewhere. At the time of the trial, Kenny's blood type was shown to be identical to the killer's but DNA testing didn't exist. In the process, Betty Anne learns from an acquaintance who is now a police officer that Nancy Taylor was fired from the police department for fabricating evidence in another case. This deepens Betty Anne's suspicions about Kenny's conviction and the "evidence" given at trial. Finally the DNA results come back and establish that the blood was not Kenny's. Betty Anne and Kenny are overjoyed and think he is about to be released, after 16 years in prison, but Martha Coakley, of the District Attorney's office, refuses to vacate the conviction. They claim there was still enough evidence to convict Kenny as an accomplice, and Kenny is convinced that no matter what they do the authorities will find a way to keep him in prison to avoid admitting to a botched prosecution. Betty Anne is heartbroken but again refuses to give up.

Betty Anne, Abra, and Barry Scheck visit the other two trial witnesses, Kenny's ex-wife and ex-girlfriend. Both tearfully admit that Sergeant Nancy Taylor coerced them into perjuring themselves at the trial in order to get a conviction. With an affidavit from Kenny's ex-wife and the DNA evidence, Kenny's conviction is vacated and he is freed from prison after 18 years in June 2001. Betty Anne is able to persuade his daughter, Mandy (Ari Graynor), (whom he had only known as a small child), that he never stopped trying to reach out to her while he was in prison despite his ex-wife's efforts to estrange them. He is able to reconnect with his daughter, and is reunited with his sister and her sons.

The epilogue states that Betty Anne secured a large civil settlement from the City of Ayer for Kenny's wrongful conviction, but former Sergeant Nancy Taylor could not be charged with a crime because the statute of limitations had expired. Katharina Brow's real murderer has not been found.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2010-11-05 : United States of America

DVD : 2011-02-01