Tony Goldwyn's rendition of the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) — a working stiff from Ayer who got a law degree in order to free her brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) from a life sentence on a bogus murder rap — will challenge one's politics. On the one hand, it pitches a strong case for reform of the criminal-justice system. On the other hand, it puts its women in positions of authority — like Attorney General Martha Coakley, who stonewalled Kenny's appeal, and Officer Nancy Taylor (Melissa Leo), who framed him — as villains. And then there are the trashy ex-girlfriends who perjure themselves to convict the guy. The film itself suffers from narrative problems in its first half (a creaky framing device and flashbacks), but Rockwell's performance as a quintessential Masshole rivals Jeremy Renner's in The Town
, and Juliette Lewis's 10 minutes deserve a Best Supporting Actress nomination.