True Story (2015)

Well, so to say, I watched this film too, long after its release. And that too finding about the movie from Col Neeham’s IMDB list of his best movies of 2015. As I am a fan of thrillers, and especially if they are true stories, I bought the Blu-Ray instantly.

But, neither the book (as I read from the reviews) by Mike Finkel nor Rupert Goold’s film adaptation is anywhere near as accomplished as Capote’s book or Bennett Miller’s movie Capote. True Story is of interest mainly because it demonstrates just how difficult it can be to map the queasy moral territory where crime and journalism intersect.

Mr. Finkel, the recently sacked journalist of New York Times, played by Jonah Hill, finds out from another reported that a FBI most wanted murderer is going under his name and had created a false identity for himself. This intrigues him as much it would intrigue any man. Being a journalist himself, he sees a potential story in the situation.

In True Story, Christian Longo, played by James Franco, writes a letter to Mike, calling him, and then getting his attention by promising to grant exclusive rights to his story to Mike. What follows, is a series of letters from Longo, and his 15 minute un-taped conversations with Mike. And the conclusion to those conversations are not at all in favour of Mike.

True Story, what I feel is not composed properly. Could Longo possibly be innocent? If not, why did he kill his family? What is at stake in the intimacy between him and Finkel? Are the two men as similar as they sometimes seem to think? Is one using the other? Which one?

The problem with True Story isn’t that it fails to answer these questions, but that it never poses them with sufficient moral gravity or dramatic force. The real story of Christian Longo and Michael Finkel might be a fascinating and disturbing tale of crime, curiosity and journalistic ethics, but that’s not what this movie is.

I’m going with two-and-half out of five stars for Rupert Goold’s True Story. Though at times the cinematography and the minor-key score, manages to create a mood of menace and mystery, otherwise the film remains without much thrills.