ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Trying To Avoid The Ultimate Sack: Brian Banks

Updated on September 2, 2019


In a prison classroom, a bored and skeptical teenager listens as his teacher attempts to show him and other inmates a different perspective to their incarceration. The teacher takes note of his pupil and gives him a book that turns out to be helpful. The story of this prisoner is the subject of the movie Brian Banks. In 2002, Brian (Aldis Hodge) was a star linebacker on his Long Beach high school football team who has been offered a full ride scholarship to USC. That changes when he is arrested and charged with rape by a fellow student. That student, Kennisha Rice (Xosha Roquemore) tells a classmate what actually happened, but she and Kennisha's mother encourage her to exaggerate things. Under his counsel's advice and despite no DNA evidence, Brian accepts a plea deal that gets him a six year prison sentence, followed by five years probation. After his release, Brian enters community college and resumes his gridiron career. Following a game, however, Brian gets a call from his probation officer, who needs to see him and other convicted sex offenders regarding a rule change. As a result, Brian can no longer attend school - or even be within 2000 feet of a school or park. He also must wear an electronic monitor at all times.

This change means that Brian has to live at home with his mother, Leomia (Sherri Shepherd), where he starts the fight to clear his name. After the courts reject his writ of habeus corpus, Brian comes across the name of Justin Brooks (Greg Kinnear), who runs the California Innocence Project. Brooks wants to help, but he advises Banks that he needs extraordinary evidence to have any chance of getting court attention. Banks's inquiries get the attention of fellow CIP lawyer Alissa Bjerkhoel (Tiffany Dupont), who gets permission to look into the matter. As this happens, Banks tries unsuccessfully to get a job, but one search at a gym introduces Brian to Karina (Melanie Liburd), a fitness teacher with a past that suggests danger for both. While he's on his computer, Brian gets a Facebook friend request from Kennisha. He instead responds with a request for a meeting. That meeting leads to a recorded confession from the woman that no rape happened. Though inadmissible in court, Brooks finds some facts he thinks he can use to clear Brian's name, provided the DA's office will listen.


Brian Banks, which is based on a real ordeal, is an interesting look at a busy legal system. The drama is good as Banks fights the system as hard as he can. Restrictions not only keep Brian from getting meaningful employment, but they prevent him from pursuing his dream of playing professional football. The film never offers suggestions about fixing a clearly broken legal system, but it does make clear that Banks enjoys better fortune than most in his position. Director Tom Shadyac is best known for comedies such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Liar Liar, but he effectively presents a typical drama here about a man with the odds against him. The script comes from Doug Atchison, whose previous film credit came in 2006, when he wrote and directed the uplifting Akeelah And The Bee. This film is not as good as Akeelah, but the story kept me engaged about its title person.

The movie benefits the most from its lead actors. Hodge delivers an impassioned performance as Banks, who fights to clear his name before his probation comes to an end, and his sex offender status cannot be changed. Brian's frustration reaches a peak every time his probation officer calls and tells him he must leave an area. Even though he's no longer behind bars, he still feels as though he is there. Kinnear is solid as Brooks, who makes Banks the first person he represents who no longer lives in a cell. Justin shares with Brian the tale of his first CIP client, who received a plea deal sentence far worse than the one that put Brian in jail. Morgan Freeman also delivers a fine (and uncredited) performance as Jerome Johnson, the prison instructor who cared enough to make sure that his pupil didn't give in to despair.


Since Brian Banks lost so much time to prison and probation, nobody can say for sure how far he would have gone in the NFL. Had he been able to pursue his gridiron dreams with the success he and others expected, he would, at this time, either have completed a Hall Of Fame career, or be writing the final chapters of it. On the other hand, he might have been an ordinary pro, or one who would have battled injury or ineffectiveness. Brian Banks tells the tale of a man who fought to overturn an undeserved verdict. Just like any team tryout, Banks had to prove himself in the eyes of those who will decide the next phase of his life. The movie makes the problems with the law understandable, and shows the dedication of a legal team who works with an equally dedicated young man to improve his chances for his future.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Brian Banks three stars. A long road to a comeback.

Brian Banks trailer

© 2019 Pat Mills


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)