Written by / 4/19/2015 / 1 Comment / , ,

JAMES FRANCO & JONAH HILL GET SERIOUS IN TRUE STORY

2015 rating: **1/2
Paraphrasing Truman Capote, who studied, befriended and wrote a groundbreaking novel concerning death row inmate Perry Smith titled IN COLD BLOOD… Capote felt as if he were Perry’s brother: both grew up in the same house, and while he went out the proverbial front door, Perry exited the back...

James Franco
Not much difference when Jonah Hill’s real life journalist Michael Finkel puts his own notes beside accused killer Christopher Longo’s "recent" scrawls, pointing out the similarity in style… There’s something, perhaps irony or excitement, that makes writers yearn to connect with murderers… Norman Mailer tops that list… Or perhaps it’s that their subject’s TRUE STORY has the potential for a great book… And books usually become movies wherein fame and money follow suit…

As a New York Times journalist specializing in helping the little guy, Finkel desperately needed a comeback after being caught cheating facts on a story about Africa… His name was poison in the writing community, and Longo, played by James Franco, literally used Finkel’s name when captured in Mexico… Turns out the accused, charged with murdering his wife and children, was a fan of the maligned journalist's work…

Jonah Hill
And like the aforementioned CAPOTE, the writer needs to put the story into book form as both polar opposites use each other in the process: one gets the scoop, the other receives lessons in becoming a writer. 

As intriguing as it sounds, there’s not much here other than a few talking head scenes between author and convict, bonding together as mind games occur in such a subtle way, their joined synergy isn’t as captivating as Longo obviously was to Finkel, and vice versa. Which doesn’t mean the performances aren’t decent: Jonah Hill gets even more intense than his WOLF OF WALL STREET nomination, especially effective when he calls Longo’s bluff; while Franco, hinting at sinister creepiness, has the potential to stretch outside the box, yet he never really does. And by far the biggest non-fiction irony is saved for last: The flawed writer was fired from The New York Times while the convicted murderer provided sporadic articles to the same paper. Talk about scruples!
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1 comment:

  1. What creeped me out was seeing at the end that the two of them still talk every month. Why?

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