True Story - Mystery Thriller Film (2015)
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  • While the movie was interesting, the cast wasn't compelling enough to keep my attention throughout and I found myself quite bored in the second half of the movie
  • However the movie does have its moments and is able to evoke certain emotions such as when Finkel loses his job at New York Times for his fabrications, I began to feel for him because it was clear he fabricated parts of his story, not for personal gain but rather more attention upon an important issue
  • I'm not sure if this was taken straight from the memoir but it was definitely a unique way of showing that Longo is either very manipulative or had been Finkel so long that he didn't know exactly how to go back
  • Unfortunately, Hill's acting in this movie was much like that of a wall
  • I recommend this movie for a one-time watch but don't expect it to be an actual thriller


by Moe

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    ‘True Story’ is a movie based on a memoir of the same name by Michael Finkel, who once wrote for the New York Times until it was discovered that one of his stories had a certain amount of fabrication involved in its conception. While the movie was interesting, the cast wasn’t compelling enough to keep my attention throughout and I found myself quite bored in the second half of the movie.

    ‘True Story’ follows journalist Michael Finkel who works for the New York Times and is absorbed with reporting a story about slavery but to make the story more appealing, he knowingly fabricates characters within that story. The subsequent controversy regarding his fabrications costs him his job and his reputation as no one wants to deal with him. Only his wife, Jill, stands by him despite the fact that Michael doesn’t seem to pay much attention to her as he’s always absorbed with himself.

    It later comes to his attention that a man, Christian Longo, has been arrested for murdering his wife and three children and is telling police that his name is Michael Finkel. Intrigued, Finkel visits Longo, where Longo reveals that he took on Finkel’s identity because he knows everything about him, having followed Finkel’s career closely. Longo intrigues Finkel enough that he comes back to visit Longo and during the course of his visits, Longo promises him exclusive access to him for Finkel to write about- in exchange for Finkel not saying anything until after the trial and teaching Longo how to write properly. Finkel is excited as he has the opportunity to partially recover his career by publishing a book about his dealings with Longo, but throughout his meetings with him, he begins to feel that Longo might be innocent and develops an odd bond with him. However, when Longo goes on trial, Finkel gets confused by some of the things Longo says and slowly as time goes on, begins to realize that Longo is manipulating him.

    The movie traveled a bumpy road with moments of suspense and then at other times the movie really dragged. I was quite put off by the sessions between Finkel and Longo; while important to the movie, it wasn’t crisp or engaging, rather both characters spoke in monotonous tones for rather longer-than-necessary period of time.

    However the movie does have its moments and is able to evoke certain emotions such as when Finkel loses his job at New York Times for his fabrications, I began to feel for him because it was clear he fabricated parts of his story, not for personal gain but rather more attention upon an important issue.

    I was fascinated when Finkel notices that in the writings by Longo about bad stuff he’s done in his life, Longo writes in the same style as Finkel, even drawing similar doodles. This shows how much Longo had entrenched himself into his Finkel’s alias. I’m not sure if this was taken straight from the memoir but it was definitely a unique way of showing that Longo is either very manipulative or had been Finkel so long that he didn’t know exactly how to go back.

  • True Story - Mystery Thriller Film (2015)
  • This is Jonah Hill as Michael Finkel, a journalist with the New York Times who is let go after fabricating parts of a story. It’s nice to see Hill try and break out of the cycle of doing the same comedic roles and try performing a character with a different complexity. Unfortunately, Hill’s acting in this movie was much like that of a wall. He was deadpan, emotionless for most of the movie and it was almost impossible to connect with him. In one scene, when he first meets Longo, he has the hint of a smile as if he’s struggling to suppress laughter, a totally inappropriate expression for that scene and likely caused by him finding something funny on set.

    At the start of the movie you might feel sorry for him but as the movie progresses Hill comes off as an arrogant person, rather than a journalist with an opportunity. He treats his wife like she’s almost stranger and seems to have an air of superiority about him. For the role, he seemed a tad young, almost college age; so young in fact for me to even begin to take him seriously.

  • True Story - Mystery Thriller Film (2015)
  • This is James Franco as Christian Longo, a man who supposedly murdered his wife and three children. Franco did a decent job in his role. While often, he too fell into the trap of being monotonous and not conveying much emotions, it more suited his role as a man of mystery. The audience doesn’t know if Christian Longo is innocent or not because at times he seems creepy with his wide smile and his manipulating everyone around him- at other times he looks perfectly normal and sad, that you want to believe he’s innocent.

    James Franco doesn’t often perform in these types of roles and it’s great to see him prove that he is a capable actor.

  • True Story - Mystery Thriller Film (2015)
  • This is Felicity Jones as Jill, Michael Finkel’s wife. Throughout the film her character is seen wanting more attention from her husband, something he seems oblivious to. Despite Finkel’s fallout after his fabrications in his article, she stands by him.

    While Felicity Jones didn’t have a big role, it was good to have her in the movie for she brought emotion to the screen. It was plain as day how much she wanted her husband to pay a little attention to her, how she was wary about his ‘obsession’ with Longo and how much she loved him. She performs well in her role and is able to somewhat makeup the boring performance by Hill.

  • True Story - Mystery Thriller Film (2015)
  • This is the real-life Michael Finkel. Until 2002 he was writing for the New York Times until he was discovered to have made up characters in his story regarding the African Slave Trade.

    Christian Longo had been a fugitive for a few weeks before his arrest and during that time he had used Finkel’s name as an alias. This sparked interest in Michael who began to communicate with Longo.

  • True Story - Mystery Thriller Film (2015)
  • This is the cover of the memoir ‘True Story’ by Michael Finkel. ‘True Story’, the movie was adapted from this memoir.

    This movie presented Finkel’s memoir in an acceptable way, however it was not perfection. Throughout the movie there were few moments that had me on the edge of the seat but at least there was a question that made me keep watching- is Christian Longo innocent? The actors, particularly Jonah Hill, didn’t perform well in the roles and thus became unrelatable. I recommend this movie for a one-time watch but don’t expect it to be an actual thriller. I would classify this movie as more of a slow mystery film.



+1
ValkyH says :

pictures can be better to show more tension.

but nice review.

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