Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Jonah Hill and James Franco
TRUE STORY (2015). Director: Rupert Goold.

Disgraced New York Times reporter Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) is fired after making up details in a story, but he gets a second chance when he learns that accused family-killer Christian Longo (James Franco) has been assuming his identity. Could there be a book in this? Of course there is, so Finkel not only gets a $250,000 book contract, but sells the rights to Hollywood -- hence this film. Who says life isn't fair? Finkel meets repeatedly with Longo in prison before, during, and after his trial, where the film suggests his conscience may be bothering him by withholding evidence (letters written by Longo, for instance) -- although one doubts it. True Story is well-acted by Hill, although Franco oozes charm and little else. Felicity Jones has a great scene as Finkel's wife Jill, telling off the repellent Longo in no uncertain terms, and Gretchen Mol scores in her brief scene as Finkel's co-worker, Karen. Ultimately, however, this doesn't amount to much. The film tries too hard to justify Finkel's actions and never delves deep enough into much of anything. The victims, as usual, are given short shrift.

Verdict: Holds the attention, but rather pointless. **1/2.

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