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Swank, as I mentioned, headlines this piece with a hard edged perseverance. She is quite believable as the matter-of-fact Betty Anne. Sam Rockwell plays her brother, the town troublemaker, with equal parts charm and menace. It's perhaps the film's most compelling performance and there are moments when he sinks to desperation that have real emotional resonance. Minnie Driver befriends Swank in law school, and though their friendship is contrived at best, she becomes a welcome presence in the film. She stands as the one truly appealing character as Swank's mania borders on selfishness and Rockwell is an unstable powder keg. Ironically, the film wants to continuously solicit sympathy for its leads without confronting the unpleasant truths--particularly that Rockwell was a violent repeat offender whom the entire town was able to embrace as a cold blooded killer.Read more ›
In 1983, Kenny is convicted of the bloody murder of an elderly neighbor largely on the basis of testimony from two former girlfriends, both of whom claimed he confessed his actions to them. Neither Kenny nor Betty Anne can afford a good attorney, so she decides to become a lawyer even though she's a high school dropout. Also serving as one of the film's executive producers, Swank come back securely to the against-all-odds territory of Clint Eastwood's ...Read more ›
Many viewers may already know the ending if they remember the news coverage around the event - much of which involved recently re-elected Attorney General Martha Coakley (who is portrayed only briefly on screen in the film). If you know the outcome - which is a twist in itself - this movie is still worth seeing for the great acting from Swank and Rockwell. If you don't know the ending going in, don't read anything else about the film as the payoff will be that much greater.
Technically the film is a little choppy - the editing, pace, and supporting character development left quite a bit to be desired. That being said, the story itself is so fascinating and compelling that forgiving the films technical flaws becomes quite easy. I would suggest checking this one out. It's a lot like A Civil Action with John Travolta, but not quite as good.
Would I watch it again? - Yes, I would make some people I know watch it too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Suggested by a Government professor regarding DNA evidence research, acting was good, story was interesting, but not too memorable,Published 1 month ago by dvegan28
This movie is amazing! I saw a commercial for it on another video I was watching and immediately ordered it through Amazon Prime. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chelsea Trone
The fact that is based on a true story amazes me. Betty Anne Waters is an inspiration.Published 3 months ago by Jillian Tempest