As the title suggests, this movie is based on a true story, in fact, the book of the same name True Story. Michael Finkel was a New York Times journalist who was fired after fabricating a story on African child slavery. Disgraced and excommunicated from the writing community he is struggling to find a writing gig.
While he struggles, he discovers there is a mass-family murderer, Christian Longo, has taken his identity while on the run in Mexico. Longo is captured and once in prison, Finkel writes him a letter asking why took his identity.
Longo responds and before you know it, Finkel gets interested in his case and begins a life long (which continues to this day) relationship visiting him at least once a month.
So you would think this is a classic story of wrong man convicted, with the plucky down on his luck journalist out to prove his innocence. Well it isn’t. It may have been interesting had it been like this.
Longo is guilty pure and simple, with some rather powerful cinema showing how he put his little girl into a suitcase and drops her into the river from a bridge.
James Franco plays the charismatic Longo who tries to present the murderer in a twisty-turny way, but fails completely. He attempts to create tension, intrigue and mystique but it never quite makes it.
Jonah Hill takes on the role of Finkel who does a rather convincing role of a rather questionable journalist who is attempting to find that big comeback story. This is a very serious role for him and while he is known for his comedic roles, this does not get in the way when he puts on the serious. Very impressive, while no Robin Williams (someone that can do both serious and comedic), he puts in the effort. A small nod to the beautiful,
Felicity Jones, who plays Finkel’s wife. Completely underused but nice addition.
The story is rather simple but it is not a story that requires 99 minutes to tell. This would make a wonderful short-story, but cinema isn’t very forgiving for a movie that would only last 30 minutes.
While a thriller, this is a movie you can happily put on in the background, dip in and out and not actually miss out on any major plot movement.
Sunday, 30th August 2015