The story of Brian Banks, a high school NFL prospect who is wrongly convicted of rape, and must fight to clear his name after being incarcerated, is an outstanding story, but the film named after him doesn’t piece that story well to make it anything more than average.
Aldis Hodge plays Banks, who while serving parole, seeks out the aid of the California Innocence Project and Attorney Justin Brooks (played by Greg Kinnear), to exonerate him of the crime that that stole over a decade of his life. The two must not only piece together new evidence from the old case but fight against the red tape of a justice system that doesn’t allow itself to be corrected so easily
The problem here is the pacing and sequence the film chooses to follow. Characters seem out of place in different scenes, while some aren’t needed at all. And the story jumps around while taking breaks that don’t add much to the telling of Banks’ ordeal. Morgan Freeman, who was featured in the marketing of the film is barely around long enough to really appreciate how important he is in the real story.
Where “Brian Banks” does shine is in Hodge’s performance. He does a fine job and manages to be a beast on the football field, while portraying a sensitivity that connects you to his story. Kinnear also puts in a fine performance in the defender role.
Tom Shadyac’s film isn’t a bad movie by any means, it just could have been assembled in a fashion that concentrated less on the supporting characters and repetitive dialog, and more on the kind of drama in the last third of the film which allowed us to leave the theater happy.
Runtime: 99 minutes