The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 103 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher
Directed by: Tony Goldwyn
Music by: Paul Cantelon
Written by: Pamela Gray
Region Code: A,B
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 1, 2011
"The incredible true story of Betty Anne Waters"
Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell deliver unforgettable performances in this incredible true story that co-stars Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis and Peter Gallagher. Swank plays Betty Anne Waters, a young woman whose world is shattered when her beloved brother Kenny (Rockwell) is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Steadfastly convinced of his innocence, Betty Anne embarks on an 18-year journey to set Kenny free, using state-of-the-art forensic technology. The unshakable bond between a brother and sister, at the heart of this real-life drama, will stir your emotions and inspire you.
Without a dime but armed with a strong will and an unwavering devotion, this high-school drop-out and working mother (Swank) earns her high school diploma and puts herself through law school in an effort to represent her brother (Rockwell) and set the record straight. Convicted of murder, he has exhausted his chances to appeal his conviction through public defenders and needs a miracle.
I generally tend to enjoy underdog/human drama type stories especially if they are based upon actual events. I vaguely recall hearing the story of Betty Anne/Kenny Waters when it made headlines but not much else. This is a truly amazing story of devotion, persistence and triumph in the face of insurmountable odds. Betty Anne Waters is an indomitable woman who loved and believed in her brother Kenny and made the decision to obtain a law degree in order to prove his innocence and get him out of prison. Of course her obstacles were many, the primaries being no money and no high school diploma. She followed through, persevered and after eighteen years and great personal sacrifice proved Kenny's innocence and got him released. The film follows the events beginning with the discovery of the murdered woman, for which Kenny was tried and convicted, through to his subsequent release. In between we see the variety of difficulties she undergoes and the tribulations she endures each step of the way. There is a little background on their childhood as well as the establishment of several characters/people that are integral to the story.
The primary focus remains on Betty and her tenacious resolve which apparently knew no bounds. The dramatized screenplay is standard fare and conveys the triumph of the spirit theme with a made for TV feel that luckily doesn't cheapen it too much. I think much of the credit for that goes to the gritty performances by Hilary Swank and my man Sam Rockwell. Smaller supporting roles by the talented Melissa Leo and one dimensional but always likeable Minnie Driver are noteworthy while the bit parts given to Peter Gallagher and Juliet Lewis seemed like a waste of talent. It was fine though since the heart of the film and story rests on Betty/Hilary and Kenny/Sam. I found Conviction to be a compelling film that warmly conveyed the inspirational story of devotion, dedication, and sacrifice of a woman who faced insurmountable odds but never stopped believing in her quest to exonerate her brother.
The rating is for language and some violent images.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Conviction comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.
This high definition presentation was on par with other new release films of its type and generally looked great. Colors were natural looking with a pleasing and reserved quality that capably handled the somewhat limited palette used to represent the period settings and clothing featured in the film. Flesh tones varied a bit with some appearing warm and lifelike while others were sullen with pallid characteristics. Contrast was tamped down but stable and images were well detailed and crisp, with sharp lines and appreciable dimension. Blacks weren't inky but had good dynamic range and detail in shadowy backgrounds and low level sequences had estimable visibility which enhanced depth. This high bitrate encoding was rendered with pristine quality that didn't exhibit any overt signs of compression related anomalies or deleterious artifacts. This lossless DTS-HD Master Audio encoding readily handled the elements contained in this dialogue driven film. The presentation retained a front loaded perspective with well defined and clearly articulated dialogue that extended well into the room. Sounds and music were reproduced with refining clarity and appropriate dynamism. Surround activity was limited to rear channel spatial cues and occasional directional sounds. It was a fine match with the source material and never felt inadequate.
- (HD) A conversation with Tony Goldwyn and Betty Anne Waters - 10 minutes
Based on the inspirational true story Conviction is a compelling drama about Betty Anne Waters an indomitable woman who proved that nearly anything is possible when she went from high school drop out to earning her law degree in order to overturn her brother Kenny's murder conviction/life sentence. It took eighteen years and came at great personal sacrifice but her unfailing devotion and persistence allowed her to prove his innocence and exonerate him. A nine year journey for director Tony Goldwyn, it features excellent performances by leads Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell. Its high definition debut from 20th Century Fox Blu-ray offers exemplary video quality and crystal clear lossless sound. The only bonus feature is a 10 minute conversation with director Tony Goldwyn and Betty Anne Waters that is time well spent but left me wanting. Conviction is definitely recommended viewing but replay value is minimal so give it a rent first.
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