Title: True Story Director: Rupert Goold Year: 2015 Run time: 1hr 39m
“James Franco and Jonah Hill star in this taut thriller from writer-director Rupert Goold, based on Michael Finkel’s chilling, real-life story. After a disgraced New York Times journalist (Hill) learns that Christian Longo, a man accused of murdering his family, claims to be him, he is intrigued and begins meeting with Longo. But as time goes on, Finkel realizes how dangerous Longo really is.”
2:26 – Well that’s a pretty depressing start to a film. 6:18 – Franco’s films are hit and miss but there’s no doubt he’s good at what he does. 8:37 – That may be the first time I’ve seen someone walk into someone else’s umbrella in a film. Umbrellas, urgh! 11:25 – “I said write it up, not make it up.” 17:41 – First reaction is to Google! Yeah! 20:02 – The shot placements in this are amazing. 27:24 – He’s wrong. All anyone says is how rubbish it is having kids. 28:56 – He’s so creative. Nutty, sure, but good with the pencil. 31:41 – “Everybody deserves to have their story heard.” 36:25 – You really can’t hide things from a journalist. They find things out. 43:40 – “You out-Seussed me.” 1:02:41 – Yep, Ted 2 has ruined the whole objection/overruled thing. Bah. 1:07:59 – You can just watch court on TV. 1:20:39 – I’ve got a bit confused now, but all the acting is top notch. 1:27:22 – A proper deadpan “good luck with that” is awesome. 1:35:37 – Stupidly tickled by it being a true story called True Story.
For the first half of this film, I was totally enamoured with it. Jonah Hill played the stressed out journalist very well, I loved that Felicity Jones was in it, and the cinematography was stunning. I don’t even know where to start with James Franco - he played an incredible range, sometimes within the space of a few minutes: vacant horror, creepy stalker, friendly jail buddy, wronged husband, crazed killer.
All the elements of the film were there, and almost perfect, so what went wrong?
There didn’t seem to be an actual point to the film, or a story to be told. If there was, they hid it very well. It’s not even like we were left guessing at what had occurred. It just felt like they were leading us through some twists and turns but there was no destination, no resolution, no clear sense that what we’d all witnessed had meaning.
Perhaps that was the aim. I know it’s a real story about a real person and factual events. Sometimes real life doesn’t make for a satisfying story, I guess.