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True Story

Based on a true story TRUE STORY explores the uneasy relationship of two professional storytellers and liars: the journalist Michael Finkel and the suspected murderer Christian Longo.

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Journalist Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) fabricated a headline story. He wanted his piece about modern slave labor in the US to garner more attention and so he melded the fates of all of his protagonists into one person. Everything did happen. Nothing happened exactly as he wrote it. Finkel gets fired and is treated like a pariah in the business. Then, a unique opportunity falls into his lap: Christian Longo (James Franco) is suspected of murdering his wife and three children and is arrested. He goes into hiding under a false name. His alias: Michael Finkel. Finkel contacts Longo and gets the exclusive rights to his story. The men begin to meet each other and James Franco’s slick and charming Longo begins to tell his life story. He constructs it well, but which elements are true? TRUE STORY is concerned with the power of good stories. Finkel wanted to use them to help the oppressed and now a book about a killer is going to save him financially. Longo needs a good story to convince the jury of his innocence. The name TRUE STORY forms a question and a contradiction: either something is true or something is a story. The film, based on a “true story,” deals with interesting topics yet Rupert Goold, who only directed theater up till now, does not manage to make this cool and calculated cat and mouse game into an existential and thrilling ride. It is no second CAPOTE but it does make one curious about the what ‘really happened.’

Toni Ohms

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: True Story
USA 2015, 99 min
Genre: Drama, Psychothriller
Director: Rupert Goold
Author: Rupert Goold
DOP: Masanobu Takayanagi
Montage: Nicolas De Toth
Music: Marco Beltrami
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Cast: James Franco, Gretchen Mol, Jonah Hill, Felicity Jones, Ethan Suplee
FSK: 12
Release: 06.08.2015

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