Diana Kilmury (Barbara Williams) had to be tough as working in the male dominated world of the heavy machinery operators she had to put up with the constant sexism which was thrown at her day in day out. But her refusal to be intimidated won her respect although also warnings when she doesn't shy away from expressing her opinion over the men who were their representatives in the Teamsters. When Diana and her son are in a serious car crash leaving her son seriously injured she finds herself falling foul of the union as she is denied benefits. It leads to her becoming even more of an activist as she works her way up in the union bringing down the corruption in the process.
As I sat watching "Justice on Wheels" one thought kept on going through my mind, if back in the late 90s someone had said lets make a biopic of Suzi Quatro, Barbara Williams would have had to be first in line to play her. It is Williams' performance as Diana Kilmury which grabs your attention because on one hand she plays tough, you could say almost Sigourney Weaver "Alien" tough in the way she deals with the guys. Yet at the same time she plays Kilmury as feminine rather than butch which is what you often get in TV movies. That makes for a very interesting and real character because unlike other strong women you find in TV movies this one is gritty rather than being just an empowering facade.
The thing is that Williams' performance as Diana Kilmury is so good that you end up paying less attention to the story. The story is in itself interesting and director Sturla Gunnarsson feels like he has drawn on some Scorsese in his approach to the story with use of narration to bring to life the mob/ corruption side of things. He also doesn't shy way from the uncomfortable and the crash scene as well as the immediate hospital scenes leaves you shocked by the graphic outcome, a clever technique which delivers the power but without the need for a big budget.
What this all boils down to is "Justice on Wheels" is a good movie thanks to a good story, clever direction but mostly because of the performance of Barbara Williams who delivers what for me is one of the best portrayals of a strong woman you will find in a TV movie. Having said that the young actor who plays Diana's son in those early scenes will certainly grab your attention and leave a memory.