27 April 2015 | d_vsbrgh
True Story comes up short
True Story is based on the novel by Mike Finkel recounting his relationship with Christian Longo(James Franco), a man accused of murdering his wife and three children. Finkel(Jonah Hill)is a young up and coming journalist writing for the New York Times when his career is derailed after he plays a little fast and loose with some facts of a recently published article. While trying to plan the next chapter in his professional life he receives a call from a reporter looking to get an angle on the story about Longo. It seems that he was using Finkel's identity when he was captured in Mexico. Finkel is naturally curious but also smells a story that could put his career back on track.
Finkel and Longo arrange to meet and what follows are a series of meetings where both men engage in a dialogue meant to extract as much information as possible from the other. But how much of what Longo shares is the truth? How does Finkel use the information he gets?
The main problem with this movie is the pay-off, or the lack thereof. The story is simply not as interesting as it sounds. Honestly, it's no ones fault. The direction by first timer Rupert Goold is solid, well paced, and true to the story. The acting is good even if it is a little weird to see Hill and Franco together in serious roles. The best way to describe it might be we all know someone(friend or family member) who is excited to tell a story of something that happened to them or something they witnessed and when they are done, looking to you for a reaction, all you can say is "Is that it?"
The most compelling aspect of the film is Finkel coming to grips with the fact that he has to determining what is the truth and what is a lie. Not unlike his readers had to do after reading his last story for the Times. One liar interrogating another.
In the end, the build up leads to very little. The ride was interesting but the destination was a big disappointment.