True Story, directed by famed stage director Rupert Goold, was met with favorable response when it was screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and with good reason.
Based on actual events (cue “ummm duh” eye roll from anyone who’s so much as read the title), True Story is the riveting and unpredictable tale of one man’s identity and what happens when it’s been borrowed by another.
Mike Finkel (Jonah Hill) is a New York Times journalist who loses his job — along with his sense of self — and has to move back to his home in Montana after being fired due to falsifying information in a published cover story.
With his reputation tarnished, Mike moves back in his small, stifling hometown, and struggles to find another job when he receives word that accused murderer Christian Longo travelled through Mexico using Mike’s name until finally being arrested by the FBI. The appeal of Christian Longo's trial is enough to lure Mike into his duplicitous narrative.
Mike contacts Christian and the two begin an unlikely friendship where they each find solace in each other’s company — Christian is exiled by those around him for the obvious reason he’s awaiting trial for allegedly murdering his entire family, while Mike has been exiled by the entire journalism world for the fallacious story he published.
Mike visits Christian at Oregon State Penitentiary and they form an agreement that Christian will allow Mike to be the only reporter to cover his story if Mike teaches him how to write (but James, you’re the teacher! Silly Professor Franco.) This friendship toggles between heartwarming and intensely violating as True Story keeps you on the edge of your seat right until the very end.
True Story is a quiet thriller that creeps into your psyche like a slow fog. Beautifully written and shot, you’ll be thinking about it long after leaving the theater. Franco is haunting and disturbingly charismatic as Christian Longo and Jonah Hill once again exhibits his shockingly broad acting range.
Here are some of the things I came out of the movie with that give nothing away:
Jonah Hill looks great in holiday sweaters.
Similarly, James Franco looks great in orange!
Montana and Oregon are apparently driving distance from one another.
Felicity Jones has an absolutely adorable resting face.
If you’re in jail, you can send people outside of jail an unreal amount of mail (and drawings!) Seriously. The limit for outgoing mail does not exist.
The overall message is this: if you want to watch a movie that’s shot beautifully with a story that makes your skin crawl, go see True Story. Seriously — go see it.
If you for some reason need further convincing to go see this movie, check out the trailer below:
[True Story](movie:368768)[True Story](movie:368768) hits theaters today (April 17).