As a producer of her own starring vehicles, Hilary Swank is a sucker for true stories of personal heroism (Freedom Writers, Amelia), and she's finally found a good one in this drama about Betty Anne Waters, a lower-class Massachusetts woman who put herself through college and then law school in hope of overturning her brother's trumped-up murder conviction. Given the obvious formula at work here, there isn't much doubt that the plucky heroine will ultimately triumph; what stings is how goddamn long it takes when there's an innocent man rotting away in prison. Sam Rockwell plays the brother, and in his handful of scenes he skillfully tracks the character's slow decay from cocky loudmouth to thoroughly beaten man; Swank, delivering her usual spunky turn, suffers badly by comparison. Tony Goldwyn directed a cast that ranges from the excellent (Minnie Driver as a fellow attorney, Melissa Leo as a crooked cop) to the laughable (Juliette Lewis as a trashy woman whose perjured testimony helps put the brother away).
Director: Tony Goldwyn
Writer: Pamela Gray
Producer: Andrew Sugerman, Andrew S. Karsch, Tony Goldwyn, Hilary Swank, Markus Barmettler, Alwyn Kushner, James Smith, Anthony Callie and Myles Nestel
Cast: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Peter Gallagher, Ari Graynor, Loren Dean, Conor Donovan, Owen Campbell and Juliette Lewis