THZ Exclusive: True Story Review

Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

True Story has the potential to become a best picture nominee at next year’s Oscars. It just falls a little bit short.

The movie starring James Franco and Jonah Hill shows a lot of potential. The story revolves around New York Times writer/reporter Mike Finkel (Jonah Hill) who has credibility issues after a mistake in his article that caused him his job at the Times. As fate would have it, he meets Christian Longo (James Franco), a convict who is incarcerated for the murder of his wife and three kids. Longo have been using Finkel’s name as a ploy to get the attention of Finkel. From there the story takes off.

What makes this story so perplexing is the chemistry between Franco and Hill. They are both known for doing comedy movies. Hill has been in serious roles in movies like Moneyball. As for Franco, he has been in a serious role like Spring Breakers. Both of them play very different individuals. Franco plays the mysterious yet insane convict Longo. Everytime he is on-screen, it’s just so surreal to see him playing such an icy character. It is almost scary to watch. As for Hill’s character, he plays the smart yet gullible reporter who falls for Longo’s plan.

However the film have problems. If anything, the screenplay can’t quite deliver. True Story  teases us along with promises that Finkel will get to the bottom of Longo’s case. At one point, the earnest reporter is the only one willing to believe that he might be innocent, a possibility borne out by Longo’s intense, tough-to-watch testimony in his own case. But it also reveals the man to be a master manipulator, even going so far as to pry into Finkel’s relationship with his girlfriend. (Felicity Jones), whose otherwise distracting presence pays off when she finally decides to visit Longo in prison. I feel that she wasn’t needed in this film.

Overall, this film is very well done. However the screenplay leaves a lot to be desired.

Movie Rating: 8.3 Out Of 10 


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