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_49468511_jex_834814_de27-1“Conviction,” a new true-life crime drama starring Hilary Swank as a woman who believes her brother has been wrongly convicted of murder, is the Hollywood version of real events. Actors Swank, Sam Rockwell and Juliette Lewis go hayseed with Gomer Pyle accents and blackened teeth in an inspirational story where dramatic epiphanies conveniently pop up whenever the story starts to sag.

Swank and Rockwell play Betty Ann and Kenny Waters, a closely knit brother and sister from rural Massachusetts. The Kenny is a charming hell raiser, specializing in petty crimes and prone to hanging moons in bars. When a local woman is brutally murdered, however, serious attention comes his way. Everyone believes he is guilty, everyone, that is, except Betty Ann who spends more than a decade earning a law degree to help prove her brother’s innocence.

“Conviction” is a crowd pleaser in the vein of “Erin Brockovich.” It features fine performances from Swank and Rockwell and an unhinged cameo from Lewis that proves she is as fearless as ever, coupled with a stirring story. It has some nice emotional moments but for all its crowd pleasing ways, it is about as conventional a movie as we’ll see this year. Evidence is uncovered just in the nick of time and at one point Betty Ann and her best friend Abra (a very good Minnie Driver) even dance in joy. The by-the-book retelling of this compelling story doesn’t do it any favors; the opening half hour drags, plot points seem a bit too convenient and the emotional moments a bit too standard.

It is however, almost salvaged by some very good actors, but what should have been a memorable recounting of a remarkable story fades very quickly after the closing credits have stopped rolling.

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