True Story: Film Review


True Story is a perfect example of a film which looks amazing and exciting in the trailer when in reality the full-length product is just good. I was hoping for more from this real life true crime tale and it was certainly interesting but it just lacked any excitement, tension or suspense.

The film is based on the memoir by former New York Times journalist Michael Finkel, portrayed here by Jonah Hill. Finkel is sacked from the publication after lying in an investigative article and he heads back to his wife Jill’s (Felicity Jones) place in Montana and struggles to find work. Soon after he discovers FBI Most Wanted Man Christian Longo (James Franco) was arrested after going on the run for allegedly killing his wife and three children, and he used Finkel’s identity with the cops.

Obviously this is an intriguing story, and I love a good true crime tale, especially as I knew nothing about the case so I had no idea whether Longo was telling the truth. He never reveals whether he did the horrific crime (you find out at the very end) and that should hold more suspense for the viewer because we should desperately want to know. But you almost don’t care because you don’t really care for either party, even though Finkel’s career comeback is on the line.


Finkel clearly sees this as his shot at redemption and gets way too close and involved to Longo, in a way that he loses perpesctive on his alleged crimes, and their relationship in the prison visitation room is interesting to watch. I buy Hill’s portrayal of a journalist so desperate to get back into good graces he will hang with a criminal but I had more problems with Franco. His character seemed quite bland and boring, and nowhere near as exciting as Longo could have been portrayed.

This was shot before Jones’ Oscar-nominated role in The Theory of Everything (she was so brilliant) but still, she is grossly underused here. Her character adds nothing and does pretty much nothing and her talents were wasted. I also feel the film itself could have been tightened up to stop it getting too plodding.

The premise sounded amazing but all drama and tension were absent, making it interesting at the time but instantly forgettable. I watched it yesterday and I’m struggling to remember it 24 hours later.

In cinemas now 

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