True Story (2015)
True Story is the movie adaptation of the Michael Finkel nonfiction book of the same name about his own experiences with Christian Longo dating back to 2001. Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) was writing for the New York Times when his credit was put in question for fabricating a story regarding child abuse in Africa. About the time he was fired, he discovered that an alleged murder by the name of Christian Longo (James Franco) was using his identity. Due to this strange fact, Finkel wanted to meet with Longo right away to understand why. When he did, he decided to write Longo’s side of the tragedy, and what he learned changed his career forever!
True Story unfolds like a murder mystery but without any of the clues or investigation. Sounds interesting, right? Nope! This movie is basically one big conversation and we, the audience, have to figure out what is true and what is crap. Finkel is in a vulnerable spot because he just lost his job and his credit as a writer is low. He needs something that will earn him praise once again, but as he hears more and more about Longo’s tale, he is sympathetic and believes every word he says. The problem is, what is real?
James Franco and Jonah Hill give great performances together and are the stars of the show. It’s weird watching these goofballs (who are friends in real life) take on these serious roles together. However, they feed off each other well and they keep the movie from being a total snoozefest. Simply put, True Story is a tale, a story. It is a tale of one man listening and believing another man’s story. So this movie is basically telling us two stories at the same time (Longo’s and Finkel’s.) The problem is that Longo’s tale is so depressing and sadistic that the movie is a downer with no pick-me-up in sight. Someone might argue that the sinking of the Titanic is a depressing movie with no happiness in sight, but it doesn’t involve a madman who killed his wife and 3 kids. I just felt disgusted watching this movie because it is so descriptive in dialogue. Everything is spoken. We see no recreation or disturbing images. The only thing we see is in our minds!
Once I realized this movie was all about the story Longo tells to Finkel, I became less interested. I thought it was going to be about the investigation (I didn’t know the true outcome) and that it might have felt like a crime thriller. The only thing we got was 2 amazing actors telling each other stories for fame and glory! I’m suggesting that True Story be skipped as it is one I will not be visiting again. Co-starring Felicity Jones, Gretchen Mol, Ethan Suplee, and Robert Jones Burke.
5/10 Stars – Even these 2 amazing actors couldn’t hide the disturbing events this movie recreates through stories.