This is not an original thesis -- it is reminiscent of Malcolm X's use of "brainwashing" as a metaphor -- but it resonates when it comes from a gangster. In the movie, Foxx recites a shorter version, guaranteeing "Redemption" will have one of the most racially sophisticated moments of 2004. Foxx's Williams talks movingly about how the Crips became a family for a boy abandoned by his father, how he wants "to stop this madness I created," how " 'revenge' is no longer in my vocabulary."
What Foxx's Williams doesn't do is address his responsibility, or lack of it, in the four murders. (The closest he gets is: "Every morning I wake up, I know I'm not supposed to be here.") By contrast, Williams' legal appeal is clearly based on a claim of innocence. Victims'rights advocates, who have not seen the movie, are almost certain to judge it as unbalanced. "I think the title should have been 'Redemption?' with a question mark," said Jonathan Raven, who is in charge of the state attorney general's victims unit.
Murder victim Owens' daughter, Rebecca, who was 8 when he was killed and is now a mother of four living outside California, said she was enraged when she came across news of "Redemption" on the Internet several months ago. "The man is asking for redemption and he's never even apologized" for the murders, she said.