What it's about:
This film, based on true events, follows the relationship between the shamed journalist Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) and accused murderer Christian Longo (James Franco), who lived under Finkel's pseudonym for years. Finkel begins investigating Longo's past in order to uncover the reality of Longo's story and to redeem his own name and tarnished career.
What we thought:
Let’s kick this off by addressing the elephant in the room. Can Jonah Hill play a convincing hard-hitting New York Times reporter and does James Franco make a believable murder suspect?It would appear so. This drama/thriller which, as the name suggests, is based on a true story successfully manages to pull the viewer into the intrigue – but only if the viewer is willing.It takes some time at first to adjust to Hill and Franco not pulling down their pants and making boyish sex jokes. But once you’ve acclimatised to the fact that they actually want you to take them seriously, it’s pretty great to watch. The bizarre relationship between Franco’s character, Christian Longo, and Hill’s, Michael Finkel is what ultimately carries the film. The rollercoaster of uncertainty and intrigue is both unsettling and thrilling with Franco outshining the rest with his gripping performance. Apart from its lead actors True Story also relies heavily on its script and dialogue to bring to life once again the true events as it unfolded. The scenes between Hill and Franco are packed with strong imagery and captivating twists. The most exciting however is the hidden Easter eggs planted early on in the film that are later revealed with goosebump inducing effect. True Story however has its faults. Felicity Jones’ portrayal of Jill Barker is so dramatic that it hovers on the edge of over-dramatic. The viewer hardly gets to see the events from Jill Barker’s perspective and when she suddenly has her dramatic meltdown it feels ungrounded. The film will not resonate with all audiences and requires a certain level of intellectual commitment that not every moviegoer will be willing to adhere to. In a time of blockbuster sequels and 3D mega-movies this film is however a welcome breath of fresh air.
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Hands of Stone is a bland, unlikable portrayal of a real-life boxer that struggles to hit the highs of Rocky IV let alone Raging Bull or the original Rocky. Mark this one down as “for boxing fanatics only”. Read More »
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