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Brian Banks Review: A Harrowing True Story of False Accusation

[movieweb.com – 7/30/19]

The story of Brian Banks is especially pertinent in the #MeToo era. A high school football player in Long Beach, California, Banks was falsely accused of rape by a classmate. He was railroaded into a plea deal by the district attorney, then stunned by a lengthy jail sentence for a crime he did not commit. A promising athlete’s life was destroyed by flimsy he said, she said evidence. The film Brian Banks recounts the incident, his time in prison, and the extraordinary lengths he went to clear his name. It is a harrowing, insightful look into an appalling miscarriage of justice.

Brian Banks, played superbly by Aldis Hodge, was on the fast track to athletic stardom. A star football player at his Long Beach high school, he had a scholarship to the University of Southern California promised after graduation. One fateful afternoon, Banks clandestinely met with a girl (Xosha Roquemore) for a stairwell makeout session. They were caught by a security guard. When his crush went back to class, she claimed that Banks had raped her.

Years later, Banks works as a gym trainer. He tries to pick up the pieces of his life under the guidance of a loving mother (Sherri Shepherd). But he is stunted by the baggage of being a registered sex offender and felon rapist. The burden of his past shackled his future. Brian Banks begins an arduous campaign for the services of lawyer Justin Brooks (Greg Kinnear), a rights advocate for the California Innocence Project. Brooks initially shuns Brian Banks, but finally is shown the details of his case. He realizes that Banks was a victim of an overzealous prosecutor, who did not properly investigate the accuser’s claim. Justin Brooks and Brian Banks embark on a risky plan to get her confession. Complicated by the millions she won by suing the school district.

Brian Banks will gnaw at your gut.

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  1. Harry

    “…millions she won by suing the school district.” Xosha Roquemore proven to have falsely accused Banks. Where is the fraud charges against her? Come on school district, come on PD/DA?

    • Agamemnon

      A caveat of charging the woman with fraud is that it could dissuade anyone else from coming forward to exonerate someone they falsey accused.

      Not saying she shouldn’t get justice, but it’s a double-edged sword.

    • D

      @Harry –

      Xosha Roquemore is an actress. The accusor is Wanetta Gibson, who was sued by the school district to get their money back and has since gone into hiding.

      • JM

        GO SEE THE MOVIE
        Just got home after seeing the movie. At the end of the movie it shows pictures of some of the people that the innocent project were able to exonerate. To my shock, I knew the parents of one of those people! Took my breath away. I am hoping that if they receive proceeds from this movie, it might bring about more stories and more attention to our plight.
        Our son did not get a fair trial, and it haunts me every day. I don’t know if anyone accused of any thing sexual can ever get a fair trial in our society. Unless of course you have connections.

  2. Tim in WI

    I can tell you from personal experience it is very difficult to get a fair trial where sexual attack underpins charges. There is a long history of injustice on the issue going as far back to Calder V Bull 3US86(1798). Curiously the case was about the state legislature of Connecticut being found in error. Of particular interest in my FTR case – the 4th defect.
    https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/3/386/

  3. Mp

    The problem is we hold institutions/companies responsible for people’s behavior when there is no direct negligence by school or company. It shouldn’t be and had that not been the case this would be a different story.

    • Facts should matter

      It wasn’t that way before the Duke Lacrosse accusations, then Joe Pa & Sundusky pretty much ushered in the current “new normal.”

    • Will Allen

      Yep. And that’s a problem for institutions/companies that know the Registries are nonsense and simply want to ignore them. If they do hire a Registered Person and something happens, then their liability would surely be multiples of what it should be simply because “you should not have hired someone listed on the hit list” and no other reason.

      • Tim in WI

        @Will A,
        The underlying intent of data collection and storage on database is always going to have restraint applied before lawful, unlawful behavior is exhibited. The new normal is citizenry data collection and retention by gov institutions and private enterprise. America is coming to terms about how non benevolent the behavior truly is. That is why the modus chosen to overcome public’s distrust of big brother ( gov) had to be the sexual oriented child sex offender. All this uncovering precisely how ignorant and clueless SCOTUS was about the threat the proliferation of database was to national security.

  4. USA

    So true. There was another case in LB where a white LB Park Employee was arrested and thought to be a serial rapist! He was even positively identified, until DNA evidence proved otherwise! The real perpetrator was black? My counselor (Lawyer) told me (same city) told me about a college student he was representing. His ex accused him of rape! She was later found to be lying after her aunt informed the DA they had been together after the accused fact and she had accused another ex after he broke up with her? Pretty sick

  5. NY won’t let go

    I knew one person in MI who got sent to prison because he confronted his girlfriend about her sexual relationship with her father.

    After the argument they had make up sex.

    After that she hit him in the head with a brick and called the cops saying that he raped her.

    He was sent to prison for 5 years and now has to register for life. He was 18 and she was 17.

    For my crime the whole process started after my “friends” had called “the victim” fat.
    Thats when the cops came to my house and played guess the number with me after asking if we had intercourse.

    I plead no contest due to the fact that I didn’t know I committed a crime at the time it happened. I even brought my evidence to court with her telling me she was over 18.
    Like how to tell when they have piercings, tattoos, and a house full of liquor?
    🤷‍♂️

  6. Laura

    What enraged me after watching this movie was why police, police departments, DAs and at least Brian’s own defense attorney would not have investigated this girls story. Why aren’t police looking into any victim’s story before making an arrest? In this movie it was brought up over and over that all the Long Beach Police had to do was go to the building, stairwell at the school and see that there 10 classes in sessions with doors open and that there would have been no way a girl would have been dragged down a hallway against her will without being seen or heard by other students or faculty. Why is it that today police are so quick to make an arrest and destroy a life without first investigating that the victim’s story is somewhat true? It is just shameful. But yet what can be done about it?

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