Rarely do I go into a movie with zero knowledge. I went into this one with an uncharacteristically low amount of information. Here’s what I knew: Hillary Swank learns law to get her brother out of jail. Oh yeah, and Gail said she heard it was good. That second part, about Gail saying it was good, was one of the primary reasons for seeing it.

So this woman, who didn’t graduate from high school, spends 16 years of her life getting her law degree so she can exonerate her brother, who’s serving life in prison for murder. She gets help from famous lawyer Barry Scheck, who runs this thing called The Innocence Project and they successfully prove the innocence of her brother Kenny Waters.

Hillary Swank turns in an inspired effort. I think I’ve only seen her in Million Dollar Baby, which rocked. I’m looking down through her filmography and I don’t see that many movies that I think I’d like, despite her popularity and consistent critical acclaim. What gives with that? Do people have favorite actors any more? You know, the actors for which every movie is a must-see. I guess I’ve seen a ton of Clint Eastwood movies and the majority of John Wayne movies, but I don’t really have any must-see actors anymore.

I watched this movie with my laptop open because I was half working, so I had The Innocence Project website up (plot killer). It got me into a little trouble because I broke the news to Gail that Kenny Waters died six months after getting out of prison, so the ending wasn’t as happy as it appeared. They did add a note that Betty Anne Waters won a settlement from the corrupt police department and continues to work on The Innocence Project, but neither of us noticed anything about the sad news of Kenny Waters’ death and inability of him to enjoy much of his late life freedom.