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.