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Film Review of The Week: True Story (2015)

Jonah Hill and James Franco star in this mystery thriller based on the memoir of the same name written by Michael Finkel, directed by Rupert Goold. True story is about a man, Christian Longo, played by


Jonah Hill and James Franco star in this mystery thriller based on the memoir of the same name written by Michael Finkel, directed by Rupert Goold.

True story is about a man, Christian Longo, played by Franco, who is wanted for the murder of his wife and three children. Found hiding in Mexico under the name of Michael Finkel, a journalist of The New York Times played by Jonah Hill. Finkel goes on to visit Christian Longo in prison to hear his story and the reasons for his identity theft. Forming an unusual relationship Michael Finkel is drawn to Longo and exclusivity to his story, and realising similarities between the two, their writing styles, the pictures they draw, Longo even mimics Finkel in court as he protests, Finkel becomes dangerously consumed by Longo and his stories neglecting his girlfriend and other commitments.

I find it really admirable when you see actors come out of their comfort zone and their clichéd characters and ace a totally conflicting role to their usual. Jonah Hill whom especially has taken on a more diverse role playing the character Michael Finkel, a New York journalist. Jonah Hill usually stars in comedy films after his first main role as Seth in Superbad (2007) (GREAT FILM) and has always seemed to be stuck with the same role. However, in 2013 he starred alongside Leonardo Di Caprio as Donnie Azoff in The Wolf of Wall Street and although TWoWS is still a comedy, it also brings in aspects of crime and biography, similar to True Story, and Jonah took on the portrayal of Donnie Azoff brilliantly, the teeth, the glasses, the characteristics and this is where we see Jonah Hill’s true potential sparking through and shying away from the typecast doofus. However, James Franco constantly surprises me with his different characters and roles, from the hilarious, Saul, in Pineapple Express (2008) (ANOTHER BLOODY BRILLIANT FILM) to mountaineer and adventurer Aron Ralston in the biography 127 Hours (2010) and this psychopath Christian Longo is just an addition to Franco’s varied characters, and brilliantly played they are.

Based on a true story the plot couldn’t move far from the truth, however throughout the film, there was a constant question of ‘did he do it?’ which personally I think is what has you on the edge of your seat throughout the film and makes you want to watch more! (Nicely done, Goold)
The film often had flashbacks to create the scene of what happened but generally followed a chronological timeline. However, the time span became confusing as a montage of the two men writing back and forth to each other was quite poor and confused the time period in which they were communicating.

The lighting and the shooting of the film was captivating, it was dark and moody in the spooky scenes and Franco’s creepy character and the close up shots of his disturbing facial expressions added to the eeriness.

I think overall both actors have executed an intense and diligent performance which leaves me to give this film 3 stars if I were to rate it. Why 3 you say? Well, although the film and shooting was brilliant, I feel the film added in extra suspicions about the characters, for me to ask more questions yet I feel when the film ended non of my questions were answered. The film suddenly ended and there were many questions racing through my mind. Why was Longo mimicking Finkel’s words while in trial? What was the crack with the relationship between Finkel and Longo? Why did Finkel continue to communicate with Longo after proven guilty? and all of the similarities between the two with their writing style and images wasn’t explained, was it that Longo was just a plain creep?

My questions will never be answered! The film is a good watch but the ending is not the best!


Review overview