Overall Grade: (C+)
This one had the appearance of a well crafted psychological-thriller but with a thin script the story-line felt more like a ‘cliff notes’ version of what could have been a deeper film.
Soon after acclaimed New York Times reporter Mike Finkel loses his job he gets a surprising call telling him an accused killer has been brought into custody, the odd thing is this man was using Finkel’s identity and claiming to be him.
It is always interesting when primarily comedic actors take on serious roles and the unique thing about this film was it turned out to be two actors of comedic background trying to take on this task. I will admit Franco and Hill have both already added some serious roles to their resume but it doesn’t assure that it will continue to be a common theme. Aptly titled, this film is based on true events and whether or not that means anything these days is always up for debate after watching to recount its authenticity.
This film seemed to follow the events with some accuracy, and surprisingly both Hill and Franco again delivered some compelling performances to make the dynamic of their characters as realistic as possible. I can confirm there are some intriguing parts of this film, the fall of Hill’s character from his career was well captured. You can feel the pain he went through by facing the repercussions of his actions, and how hard it was for him to get back into the business once he was branded basically a liar in his profession.
I also like the character Franco created in this film but to no fault of his, I felt his character was much too thin for being a focal part of the plot. He did look the part and some of his dialogue gave quick bullet points of his background but for the most part there was little information about him to sell his character as being as psychotic and maniacal as the film intended.
This lack of detail was also evident in the many conversations between the two of them where it was clear the film wanted to establish an odd bond between them but the dialogue was again not layered enough to build the dynamic properly.
The result was a lot of the actions by Hill’s character seeming unmotivated, unrealistic, and thus the tension the script wanted to build was never accomplished. There was even a scene later in the film where the character of Finkel makes a grand realization about Longo and the camera angle and even score of the film try to build a climactic moment but it didn’t land for me because the script was short of weaving a great psychological thriller.
In the end the cast was good and this was not a horrible tale but the strong scenes it does deliver are too saturated among many others that seem too lifeless to make the emotional connections the filmmakers wanted. With a little more delving into the mind of Longo to equal that what was done with Finkel would have gone great distances to make this film as impact-full as it could have been. Overall it starts out intriguing and has its moments but seemed to linger its way through telling itself.
Passing on this one wont cause you to miss much, and if you are a fan of Hill and Franco then certainly give this film a chance because their chemistry and performances were enjoyable enough to make “True Story” just above average in the genre.