Based on true events, Confirmation details the media circus that ensues after Anita Hill (Kerry Washington) accuses Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas (Wendell Pierce) of inappropriate behavior ten years earlier. Filmmaker Rick Famuyiwa has infused Confirmation with a very matter of fact sensibility that generally proves effective, with the movie, for the most part, playing out like a series of reenactments on a cable news channel – although it’s just as clear that the film is elevated on a consistent basis by its stellar assortment of top-notch performances. Leading that charge is, of course, Washington, as the actress delivers solid work that remains more than just an impressive impression of a real-life figure – with Washington’s engrossing turn matched by a supporting cast that includes, among others, Greg Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, and Treat Williams. It’s apparent, too, that Confirmation benefits from scripter Susannah Grant’s even-handed take on the true-life story, as Thomas never quite comes off as the sneering villain one might’ve anticipated (ie with its periodic emphasis on his relationship with his wife, Thomas is often presented in a surprisingly sympathetic light). The end result is an engaging primer on a fairly fascinating (and completely relevant) episode in recent history, with the parade of familiar faces ensuring that Confirmation is, at the very least, effective as a showcase for better-than-average performances.

*** out of ****

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