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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Conviction [Blu-ray]


(Tony Goldwyn, 2010)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Pantheon Entertainment Corporation

Video: 20th Century Fox



Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:47:02.457

Disc Size: 34,535,752,215 bytes

Feature Size: 29,914,005,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.84 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 1st, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3504 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3504 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps



English (SDH), Spanish, none



• A Conversation between Tony Goldwyn and Betty Anne Waters (10:19 in 1080P)

• Sneak peek at 'Cyrus' (2:20 in 1080P)





Description: Two-time Academy AwardŽ 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.


"Conviction" is the inspirational true story of a sister's unwavering devotion to her brother. When Betty Anne Waters'... older brother Kenny is arrested for murder and sentenced to life in 1983, Betty Anne, a Massachusetts wife and mother of two, dedicates her life to overturning the murder conviction. Convinced that her brother is innocent, Betty Anne puts herself through high school, college and, finally, law school in an 18-year quest to free Kenny. Belief in her brother -- and her quest for the truth -- pushes Betty Anne and her team to uncover the facts and utilize DNA evidence with the hope of exonerating Kenny.



The Film:

Top-billed Hilary Swank, who signed on as executive producer after reading Pamela Gray's script, is almost too right for the role of Betty Anne Waters, the valiant working-class heroine of the piece. A high school dropout and single mother of two, Waters spent her childhood in various foster homes, often apart from her brother, Kenny. The grisly, wordless opening credits take us to 1980, by which time the Waters siblings are adults. A volatile troublemaker with a history of violence, Kenny is questioned by local Massachusetts authorities about the trailer-home murder of a neighboring waitress. He's cleared. Two years pass. Testimony from two of his ex-girlfriends puts Kenny at the scene of the crime after all. Result: life without parole.

The "triumph of the human spirit" part: Waters was convinced her brother was innocent. She earned an overdue high school diploma, struggled through law school and became her incarcerated brother's legal representation. Her detective work involved locating and sifting through moldering-but-vital evidence (this was in the dawn of the DNA-testing era). Melissa Leo of "Frozen River" plays Kenny's arresting officer, a cop with secrets and an agenda. Minnie Driver adds some comic spark as Waters' friend and law school colleague. Peter Gallagher enters the action late in the game as Barry Scheck, the wrongful-conviction expert best known for his work with the Innocence Project.

Gray's script covers several decades of the Waters' rough lives with ease. Flashbacks to their tumultuous childhood; a wedding brawl in a local saloon; Betty Anne's scramble to be everything at once — mother, lawyer, detective, crusader — and save her brother from his own fatalistic depths behind bars: It's all there, in trackable, intriguingly arranged order.

Excerpt from Michael Philips of the Chicago Tribune located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Excellent image by Fox on this 1080P Blu-ray of Conviction. There is some subtle depth and pleasing detail on close-ups.  This dual-layered with a high bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour film. Colors aren't overly exuberant. Contrast exhibits healthy black levels. This Blu-ray presents the film experience extremely well. The flashbacks are, purposely, a different grade - perhaps slightly glossier to separate from the 'present' timeframe. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film Conviction and it's easy to see that it is HD. I have no complaints - hopefully the screen captures will give you and idea of the impressive visual quality.


















Audio :

Very solid DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 3504 kbps that is never tested by the film which is surprisingly passive. The violence is adeptly inferred rather than turned exploitive. There is some excellent sounding live 'bar' music with 'My Sharona' and a couple of other covers. The audio is as flawless as the video without anything misplaced and there are a few subtitles in the separations but no depth as the film never sees the need to export it. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being region FREE!


Extras :

Extras are slim with only a 10-minute conversation with director Goldwyn and the 'real life' Betty Anne Waters. Naturally most are curious about her after watching the film but I was hoping for more. Unfortunately, her brother Kenny fell and fatally fractured his skull in 2001 because present day footage with him would have been very interesting. Even a commentary by Goldwyn would seem viable but it seems like Conviction didn't get the utmost support from the marketing side of the studio. I think it deserved more. There are also some 'Previews'.



When I related the plot of Conviction to a friend - he immediately asked "Is it a true story?", sensing even Hollywood couldn't invent something of this nature and make it believable. This could only be made a true story. Despite middling critical reaction this is quite good - and enjoyable. As she is capable, Swank just carries the film with her facial expressions exporting a range of emotions. Rockwell is also excellent and this is a compelling, but not syrupy sweet, story. If it has a fault - I'd have liked to see more of Melissa Leo... and the court aspects late in the film could have been expanded.  There isn't anything at all wrong with the Blu-ray transfer that I can discern. Hilary Swank is getting so that I would watch her in just about anything. Conviction makes for a good night in the home theater with the film offering more depth than you might expect in a solid hi-def presentation. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 27th, 2011




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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