on November 8, 2005
Back in 1984, the hit at the Canne Film Festival was another quiet and cerebral film called Paris, Texas - directed by the German director Wim Wenders (but that was then, and this is now). Here, we get the Danish director Billy August creating a hypnotic imaging of desolate Oklahoma small towns, an innocent woman on death row, and the various players around her story in the last days leading up to her execution. As always, Aidan Quinn is just right for his part as a complex lawyer turned tabloid huckster and alcoholic, who finally finds redemption in the last motel on the rain slick streets. But the real standout here is the always underrated Connie Nielsen, who smolders in this performance and the chemistry between her and Quinn is what great movies (and their moments) are made of. I guess in this age of mindless reality TV, films of this quiet beauty, intelligence, and grace are just too slow, pondering, and challenging for today's audiences. Too bad - this film is a keeper and a real gem!
on March 2, 2013
I was prepared to be underwhelmed by this movie, based on some of the comments. Instead, however, I ended up glad that I'd lucked out and found a good movie to watch! (That is, it wasn't one of those Prime movies that I click off after half an hour, because it just isn't holding my attention.)
Yes, it did start slowly, as some have noted, and yes, the bleak Oklahoma landscape shown in the beginning isn't much appealing. Even so, as the viewer soon discovers, in this "it looks like nothing happens here" environment, there is a LOT going on behind the scenes! What the movie does well is to artfully present, through character interactions, a reliable stream of hints and clues about those "not so ordinary" happenings. This sustained suspense makes the movie compelling and intriguing.
Connie Nielsen is outstanding in her portrayal of a widow convicted of child kidnap and murder. She doesn't necessarily "act" like a cold-blooded killer (isn't dead behind the eyes, etc.). Still, she presents enough of an odd detachment, along with some quirkiness, that I kept wondering if she'd committed the crime or not. Well along into the movie, I still didn't know quite how to regard her, and so (as part of that suspense factor), I was always wanting to know more.
Aidan Quinn, playing a washed up attorney with seemingly shady motives, is likewise more than he first seems to be at the movie's outset. His character experiences a slow metamorphosis, which caused me to increasingly warm up to his role. I respect a movie which delivers plausibility for a character's evolving perspectives (because it seems like the script is respecting me as a viewer). Here, Quinn's confusion, his reflection, his twists and turns, etc., are never forced, and so they never arbitrarily manipulate the audience. Rather, they serve to give his character depth and appeal.
Kelly Preston, as the attorney for the convict, has a smaller role, but the story would not have been nearly as good without her! She is very well-cast, and lends a strong presence. Her nuanced portrayal makes her character seem like a real person who happens to practice law (rather than being a stick figure caricature of a lawyer). Rarely do I see a film where three key characters all end up giving top notch performances, but I'm glad to say that this movie is a fine exception. The supporting characters were also good, for the most part.
I had no problem keeping my interest from the beginning. Even so, I noticed that I was getting more and more drawn in as the movie progressed, and that was a great feeling. One reviewer here said that the final 15 minutes were what made the movie worthwhile. It's true that the conclusion is a stirring reward. Still, I could never dismiss what comes before it, because the context and character developments offered prior to the finale, are completely essential. All kinds of seemingly unrelated loose threads get wrapped up then, and it all happens in ways that cannot be predicted.
For me, the story lacks some plausibility, which is why I gave it four stars instead of five. Still, I was more than happy to sacrifice some plausibility for a compelling sense of suspense and well-drawn characters. I like a movie that's as much about the characters as it is about the plot.
The subtle pacing invited more engagement from me than I'd likely give to, say, an action movie. The fact that my attention was required especially made the movie "get into me." I was engaged enough that after the video concluded, I found myself musing a bit, speculating about what would happen next to the characters shown in the final scene. Having enjoyed the movie a lot, I guess I didn't want it to be over!
Go and ahead and give the video a try (especially if you're a Prime member!). I think you'll enjoy it.
on September 7, 2014
We've all seen movies like this - perhaps the best is "A Few Good Men," the tension rises well past the eleventh hour, and everyone wonders how in the world Tom and Demi are going to fix this. Then there's the worst of the lot - Clint Eastwood's "True Crime," the most predictable and by-the-numbers "he didn't do it" death row yarn ever put to film. Perhaps the granddaddy of them all is the 1982 movie The Verdict, staring Paul Newman, who becomes convinced of his case beyond all reasonable real-world expectation.
Well, "Convicted" is up there with the best of them. Even in this era of the might Pause button, I found myself ignoring phone calls and texts because I simply had to find out how this could possibly all work out. What makes this movie work out better than most of its type are the relationships - you begin to care very early on what happens to these people. And by then, you're hooked.
on July 22, 2012
This is a fairly decent movie. An honest film that few will be able to call the ending of. If you are a Connie Nielsen fan she doesn't disappoint. There is one scene in particular though that makes the flick worth watching regardless. It's a moment of black comedy. There's a one-liner that made me laugh so hard I had to hit pause. Watch for it when a man is visiting an inmate in prison, and the guards are called out of the room. I will catalog this one-liner with the many great lines uttered in film, such as "Charlie don't Surf!", and "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse". The line from Convicted though is dirty. Very dirty. You have been warned. ;>