Saturday, April 18, 2015
TRUE STORY Blog Review
It's hard not to start with the obvious when it comes to this latest psychological crime drama TRUE STORY:
1) it reminds most of us of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” or the film Shattered Glass about fraudulent Washington, D.C. journalist Stephen Glass.
2) You think why Jonah Hill and James Franco? Yes, Jonah Hill played a real kinda guy in Moneyball, but normally he's a quirky humored character actor. James Franco is a little harder to type cast, but still, soon as you hear he's paired with Hill, you automatically think another This is the End type of scenario.
3) Yes, the movie is based on journalist Mike Finkel's book "True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa" - still, I don't like "True Story" as a title for the movie, it's too generic. And even though it's a compelling and somewhat odd series of events coming together at the same time, it's not so unbelievable that you need to preface the fact that this is a 'true story'.
Chilling first scene of a little girl of about two or three years of age, curled up in the fetal position of an open suitcase, a teddy bear is dropped from above in very slow motion. Next we're in Africa where New York Times Magazine journalist Mike Finkel (Hill) is interviewing young West African boys on their stories of slavery at a cocoa plantation. Upon his return to NYC, Mike is completely riding high feeling like this story is going to earn him a Pulitzer, unfortunately, his journalistic aspirations are not just unmet, but dashed.
As someone who's conducted a fair share of interviews, I know how difficult it is to present an interview just as it came to you - people aren't as eloquent and concise as you need them to be for a Q&A, so I have corrected a sentence or two, and cut the answers down, never changing the meaning, always staying as close as possible to the exact quote, but tweaking a bit for a better read and easier comprehension. I rarely put the questions and answers in the order with which the interview took place and sometimes if the response to one question, better fits the answer to another, I switch the question. Does this compromise my journalistic integrity?
I think anyone who found out an accused murderer was using their name, would need to know more about why. But as a journalist, particularly one who needed a story to put him back in good graces, Mike becomes fascinated with the accused Christian Longo aka "Shortstop" (Franco). And although the evidence of his unthinkable crime, strangling his wife and baby daughter and throwing his other two young children over a bridge, is stacked against him, Finkel can't help but be charmed enough by the killer to give him the benefit of the doubt.
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Summation: It's a compelling enough flick to keep you going and make you think it's really good while you're in it, but after, your not exactly haunted by it. I think Felicity Jones' part as Finkel's Montana live in girlfriend, is more or less unnecessary. However, the backdrop of her scenes in that gorgeous, rustic, chic house makes for nice visuals. James Franco is believable as a charming psychopath, because frankly, Franco is believable as a charming psychopath. But on the whole, as far as psychological dramas where head games are being played between two men -I prefer Ex Machina. Tune in next week for my look at that movie.
T &T's LAMB Score: 2.5 Outta 5
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog