Archive for the ‘True Story’ Category

Conviction – Guilty Or Not Guilty

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

conviction-imageOver the last few years there have been a lot of films that have been based on real life events, some of which are just brilliant – The Blind side, The Social Network, The Kings Speech, and public enemies are just a few that come to mind.

Stand out, true-life films usually involve a victim of injustice and people fighting to save them from a life that they don’t deserve, usually behind bars.  The Hurricane starring Denzel Washington is a great example of this,  A man arrested and jailed for a murder he didn’t commit.

Conviction gives you all of this and more.

Hillary swank stars as Betty Anne waters, a single mother from Massachusetts who does everything she can to become a lawyer after her brother is charged with murder. The murder charge looks ropey, but 60 years without parole is what Kenny ( Sam Rockwell) is sentenced to after testimonies from an ex (Juliette Lewis, who goes all out in a stunning performance) and the mother of his child convince the jury that Kenny is Guilty.

The next 16 years see Swank’s character put her life on hold, resulting in her divorce, and even her children wanting to move in with their father just so that she can pass all of her exams to help free her brother.

With the help of Arba Rice, a fellow mature student in her class, brilliantly played by Minnie Driver they start to get closer to the truth.  They find out that cases are being thrown out as DNA tests are proving that people were being wrongly convicted. They search high and low for the evidence that convicted Kenny, but according to the police station and court, the evidence was destroyed after 10 years. (more…)


Monday, October 19th, 2009

sandra-laingThis sensitive drama from Anthony Fabian tells the remarkable true story of Sandra Laing, a black girl who was born to white Afrikaner parents in 1950’s South Africa. Due to a genetic throwback, Sandra’s hair is frizzier than that of her parents, and her skin darker. As her conservative father seeks to defend her mother from persistent accusations of infidelity, Sandra becomes embroiled in a series of legal battles to classify her race. Amazingly, The Laings’ campaign is successful and the dark-skinned Sarah is officially classified as white. She is legally entitled to attend a “white” school, sit in the “white” section in waiting rooms and dine in “white” restaurants. Her parents blankly ignore the stares from racist onlookers, and their policy of “reclassifying” their daughter appears to work, for a while.


Good Night, and Good Luck

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

good-luckWe are all fat, lazy and complacent. We use television as a way of switching our minds off to what is going on in the world around us. The media has great potential to educate, to promote political debate, to bring about justice, yet we are contented with air-headed trash if it brings in a few bucks through advertising.

This is the message that Edward Murrow gives to a room of CBS employees in 1958, but one that could apply equally today. In his second film as director, which was shot when the ‘war on terror’ was in full swing, Clooney offers a rebuke to contemporary US journalists who lose sight of the truth because they are too concerned with appeasing advertisers and the government. Clooney can’t be accused of falling into this camp: he was paid $1 each for writing, directing, and acting in the film and even offered to mortgage his house in order to fund it. Clooney would have been familiar with newsrooms of this era because his father was a news anchor for some 30 years.



Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

changelingOnce seen as a respected institution of Western movies (and Dirty Harry), Clint Eastwood, now 78, has revealed himself to be an adept storyteller who just gets better and better with each new release. Like his 2006 war film Letters from Iwo Jima, Changeling is a provocative and relentless film that looks on the past with coldness and suggests the present has learnt few lessons from it. Child abuse and infanticide feature heavily, but really act as a prism through which the central themes of real-life police corruption and the disempowerment of women are played out with brutal force.

Meticulously researched by the former journalist and Babylon 5 creator  J. Michael Straczynski, who lifted most of the screenplay directly from court records, Changeling is the factual account of a mother whose young boy disappeared, and of a corrupt Police Department in 1928 Los Angeles that would go to any lengths to save its own skin.


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon)

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Directed by celebrated painter Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tells the remarkable tale of Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), the 43-year old Parisian fashion editor and playboy who, at the zenith of wealth and success was paralysed by a stroke and suffered from “locked in syndrome”, where he is alive and conscious but unable to communicate with the world.

Bauby wakes up in hostpital from a coma to find himself paralysed from head to toe and unable to speak. The only part of his body he can move is his left eyelid, which he uses to communicate. The pretty speech therapist (Marie-Josee Croze) recites the alphabet in the order of most frequently used letters, and Bauby chooses a letter by blinking. Thus, letter by letter, blink by blink, he ‘dictates’ his extraordinary memoir on which this film is based.