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True Story

6/10
Crime . Drama . Mystery
 

A drama centered around the relationship between journalist Michael Finkel and Christian Longo, an FBI Most Wanted List murderer who for years lived outside the U.S. under Finkel's name.

 
Actors: Jonah Hill , James Franco , Felicity Jones , Maria Dizzia , Ethan Suplee , Robert John Burke , Charlotte Driscoll , Conor Kikot , Stella Rae Payne , Byron Jennings
Directors: Rupert Goold
Country: USA
Release: 2015-04-17
More Info:
  • Katie Walsh

    The film is exceptionally well-made... There is nothing warm about the style, yet it allows for moments of simmering tension, broken by a few emotional explosions that shatter its well-composed surface.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    While never as gripping as a good piece of fiction, Goold’s treatment actually manages to improve on the book, even if that meant fabricating a few things along the way.

    Variety Full Review
  • John DeFore

    Goold's work never feels stagey; a smart and varied visual sense opens up even settings as basic as a jail's visiting room. But what happens in that room isn't as convincing as might be expected from these actors.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    No one in the film is particularly likeable, and while the global implications about epistemology are interesting, the specifics of this particular case, at least rendered here, are quite dull.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Gregory Ellwood

    While Longo's actions were horrifying and his connection to Finkel is unique, Goold somehow can't make this material as interesting as you'd expect it to be.

    HitFix Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    The courtroom scenes are unapologetically over-the-top and sometimes excruciatingly exact in the details of the murder, but you won’t soon forget Franco’s expertly nuanced performance. It’s as good as any work I’ve seen in a film in 2015, and True Story is one of the better movies to come along this year.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    True Story may someday be used in both acting and journalism classes, the former for what students should do, and the latter for what they shouldn't.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Those looking for a clear-cut chronology of how the murders happened are destined for disappointment. Flashbacks of the crime are short and ambiguous.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    While the movie sometimes seems like faux Fincher, the symbiotic acting, artful imagery and punchline ending turn True Story into credible entertainment.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    True Story marks the directorial debut of Rupert Goold, a respected British theater veteran who also co-wrote the script and knows how to engage the viewer with simple scenes of two people talking (with a few modifications, this could have easily been a play).

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    The reporter/convict dynamic doesn’t have enough layers to carry the film without some hint of mystery. The relationship between the two, chilling as it is, never raises this “Story” from generic to profound.

    Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    True Story never really soars in the way it might, but the performances more than keep it aloft.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Director Rupert Goold keeps things appropriately creepy, but True Story is no “Capote.” It’s all buildup with little payoff.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    The meat of the movie is the behind-bars rendezvous between Finkel and Longo, whose interactions raise questions of journalistic responsibility and the banality of evil. But when a closing block of text announces that the two men still talk on a semi-regular basis — a surprise, given the finality of their last on-screen meeting — it’s hard to shake the feeling that a truly complex liaison has been reduced to an acting exercise for a couple of moonlighting funnymen.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    The problem with True Story is that you wish there were more of it. The philosophical questions it encourages are like the tail that wags the dog. The truth becomes something of an obfuscation, and unlike films such as "Capote" and "Infamous," there’s not enough drama about the compulsive relationship between the writer and his felonious subject.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    True Story is an intrinsically fascinating and occasionally riveting tale marred by unnecessary embellishments.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    What pulls us in are the performances of Franco and Hill, who know how to hold and reward the camera's tight scrutiny. They play a riveting game of cat-and-mouse.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    If the film's copycat visual artistry illuminates nothing, at least its script is sincerely devoted to probing Finkel and Longo's odd partnership.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    If nothing else, True Story is the kind of movie that will spark spirited discussion among moviegoers prone to digging and searching for the truth -- whatever that might be.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    There’s enough unfulfilled possibility in True Story to make it an intriguing introduction to this story of deception and self-deception, but the balance between true-crime cable soap and the darker, richer layers of Franco’s performance never quite adds up.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Tim Grierson

    Lead performances from Jonah Hill and James Franco are plenty impressive. But at the same time, True Story is almost too polished and clever for its own good, sacrificing complexity for a surface-y examination of the issues at play.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    True Story, made with obvious seriousness by talented professionals, never establishes itself.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Never mind the facts. True Story, slick and shaky, doesn't know where the truth lies.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    This mannered, muddled drama about journalistic lapses and worse, crimes, stars comic buddies Jonah Hill and James Franco (This is the End) in a decidedly unfunny story.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    The real problem with True Story is contained in its title. The story isn’t too good to be true, but rather too true to be good.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Robert Abele

    Unfortunately this "Story" never finds its footing as either a creepy morality play or a performance-driven two-hander.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    True Story, which leads with its chin from the title on down and which turns a startling tale of true crime and false identities into a heavy-breathing drama that, ironically, fails to convince.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    True Story is a case of a well-crafted film, made by a first-time feature director with an impressive theatrical pedigree, that nonetheless struggles to locate the reasons for telling its story.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    True Story trips and stumbles so much in the telling that you don’t know what to believe, and instead of one man’s irony you end up with two men’s lies.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Goold, a highly regarded British theater director making his debut feature, lacks the panache to realize this twisted relationship onscreen. Instead he’s made a stolid, well-acted, intelligent drama that respects the complications of Finkel and Longo’s storytelling agendas without bringing them to life.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    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.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    True Story is a prisoner of its own dull storytelling.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    It’s made with too much slickness, and you’ll be way ahead of it.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Especially for a movie that springs from a horrific and grisly crime, True Story feels undershaped and indistinct; it’s too dispassionate to be genuinely chilly.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    If this mess is what they ended up with after erring with the best intentions, I feel bad for them. If this is actually the end result they were going for, I’d be inclined to use the legal system myself, to file an injunction against them ever getting near a soundstage again.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Writer-director Rupert Goold, here making his feature debut, fails to capture the chemistry and tonal complexity necessary to make this grim, often grisly tale anything more than a tragically lurid anecdote.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Far from rising to the level of truthiness, let alone truth, True Story rings false from start to finish.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    There’s only one good scene in True Story, though it’s the most flagrantly absurd.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Franco’s distancing routine helps sink True Story, an already turgid and tone-deaf adaptation of a self-serving memoir by a disgraced New York Times reporter (played by two-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill) who bonds with a murderer he’s trying to exploit.

    New York Post Full Review
  • David Hughes

    The former comedy co-stars (Knocked Up) are superbly cast in this fascinating, fact-based story.

    Empire Full Review
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  • journalist

  • journalism

  • based on a true story

  • convicted of murder

  • defendant testifying

  • crime scene photograph

  • murder trial

  • close up of eye

  • sketch

  • prison visit

  • blacklisted reporter

  • google search

  • pair of deuces

  • poker game

  • teddy bear

  • death

  • murder of a child

  • discredited reporter

  • murder of wife

  • investigative journalism

  • murder

  • two word title

  • title spoken by character

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