James Franco and true stories (Hollywood true, that is) have had a hard time as of late, what with The Interview almost bringing the US and North Korea to war. This time around, 20
The film’s premise is interesting, with Hill playing a New York Times reporter and Franco a convict, in jail for killing his family. Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) is dismissed by the New York Times after it is discovered that he played around with the facts when doing a report on child slavery in Africa. His reputation in tatters and looking for a way to restore his credibility, Finkel finds out about Christian Longo (James Franco), who is in jail for killing his three children and his wife.
Finkel discovers that Longo had been posing as him when on the run from the law in Mexico. He wants to meet the convict and write a book on his talks with him. Longo is in prison and Oregon and how Finkel meets him and what happens after forms the premise of the movie. Without a doubt, the idea is interesting and casting the two actors known mostly for their comedic roles in dramatic parts is a masterstroke.
The film is directed by Rupert Goold, who also co-wrote the screenplay with David Kajganich, based on the memoirs by Michael Finkel. This is Goold’s first film as director. He is well-known for his work on the stage in the UK and he creates the right mood and setting for the film. The casting is perfect and it is the performances of the two leads that paper over the holes in the script, providing a compelling watch. True Story is one movie where you will need to use your brains, a welcome change from the current slate of movies.
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