True Story – Movie Review
True Story – R
Release Date: Fri 17 Apr 2015
Mike Finkel (Jonah Hill) is a successful and respected reporter for the New York Times who becomes embroiled in a scandal when he is caught combining the stories of five abused people into a single person. Fired and disgraced, he is contacted by another reporter who tells him that a man accused of killing his family was arrested in Mexico and had been using Finkel’s name and claiming to work for the New York Times.
Fascinated by why this man would use his identity, Finkel reaches out to Chris Longo (James Franco) to begin to interview him for a possible new article. Longo tells Finkel that he is a huge fan of Finkel’s work and seems to know an uncanny amount about him. But much of Longo’s story is far-fetched. Is he guilty of killing his family or covering for someone else out of fear or gallantry.
Both lead actors are great in this movie, and their scenes together are the highlights. Franco perfectly executes Longo’s complicated persona. He is charming, vulnerable and a conniving snake. Hill gives Finkel an air of arrogance and vanity but also a deep desire to get to the truth. Longo is not an intimidating presence, but that is exactly how he is so great at manipulation. Lies are hard to separate from the truth.
The word “story” in the title can be a synonym for lies, tall tales and the literal fact that the movie is based on true events. Longo and Finkel are real people, and the mind games depicted in the film really happened. In almost only that regard are they actually true. Because the movie seems more interested in giving room for great performances and telling the story as it happened, the third act lacks the kind of twist of punch that it may have had if it were actual fiction. Nevertheless, True Story is intriguing all the way through and punctuated with showcase performances from Hill and Franco. It’s a crime drama and mystery well worth a watch.
Amber, Aaron, Cal and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: