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TRUE CRIME is a sophisticated crime thriller that takes time to delve
into its lead character--CLINT EASTWOOD--who promptly turns out to be
very much like the Eastwood character we've already seen in a dozen or
so films--boozy, insolent, direct, and relentless when he's on the
trail of a killer or playing detective with everyday citizens.
It isn't until his newspaper partner is killed in a driving accident that his conscience takes over and he decides to pursue the case that intrigued her--a case involving a man she believes is innocently awaiting sentence in California's death row.
He pleads with his newspaper boss (JAMES WOODS) to give him more time to insert himself into the case and track down the real killer. This leads to a black woman who inadvertently gives him a clue he's been searching for and to their desperate attempt to reach the governor in time to stop the execution. Scenes of the state preparing step by step to begin the process are cross-cut with Eastwood's car chase to alert the authorities in time. It makes a smashing, riveting climax.
Basic storyline seems awfully familiar for anyone who has seen a movie from the '40s, CALL NORTHSIDE 777, all about one man's attempt to save a man from the chair whom he believes is totally innocent. And there too, the clue depended on a piece of evidence seen by the naked eye.
Eastwood's acting and direction is above reproach--he's fine and totally in control in both departments. In fact, all the supporting roles are extremely well played. Well worth viewing--and has something to say about race relations too.
True Crime is a fairly engaging movie that has some good performances. Eastwood as the director stages the action well and moves the plot forward. Only in the scenes where he takes his daughter to the zoo does the film tend to lose a little momentum. Then again, a scene like that helps illustrate the character that Eastwood is playing. He'll follow a story, but he'll try to make time for his daughter. Eastwood the actor, he seems to enjoy the roles of the tough but flawed theme. His character in True Crime is a womanizer, and a former drunk. Good characters always have flaws and Eastwood can play them with his eyes closed. The supporting cast is well rounded and helps advance the narrative. The only qualm I had was that Eastwood the director, should've tightened the running time and made the story that much more urgent. We've all seen the beat the clock films and this one's no exception. What could've made this movie better is a brisker pace, but Eastwood the director chose a more laid back style. After thirty years in the business, Eastwood can do whatever he wants with his films. He's earned it.
I'll be perfectly frank; it's difficult for me not to have bias in my reviews of Clint Eastwood films because I admire his persona as a actor and director a great deal. However, saying that, I never shy away from giving credit when credit is due. I praised "Bridges of Madison County," raved "In the Line of Fire," okayed "Absolute Power," and failed to see the point of "Midnight in the Garden..." Clint's latest effort, entitled TRUE CRIME, is another good mystery that can be added to Clint's stellar works of the nineties. I will admit that it doesn't necessarily give us a story that we haven't seen before, or give us a Clint that we failed to notice previously, but the acting is so top-notch and the story is very well-paced, it's very hard to knock this film. Clint is a journalist for an Oakland paper who is famous for turning print media into crime-solving reports. He is also far from saintly, sleeping around with various women of assorted age groups (one of them happens to be his supervisor's wife), and of course, he drinks up a storm. Amidst all these turn-offs, he still has the guts to prove that a young black man (Isaiah Washington, in a fine performance) is not guilty of killing a convenience store clerk in cold blood. He has less than a day to prove it because, it so happens, Washington is to be executed by lethal injection at San Quentin by a minute after midnight, that very night! Sound familiar? What does work very well in TRUE CRIME is the way in which the film is paced. Clint cuts right to the chase, giving us just the facts, keeping the suspense taut throughout the whole film, and maintaining our interest. His cast is well chosen as always. Washington is a fine new talent, doing an effecting acting job here. James Woods appears in a few entertaining scenes as the head editor of the paper, humorous and stylish as usual. Denis Leary, very subdued this time, is Eastwood's protege. Frances Fisher even turns up briefly as the district attorney who handled Washington's case six years before. TRUE CRIME is a good thriller, told with quick pacing, effective acting, and good direction as always by Eastwood. The only major problem I have is that it doesn't provide us with any new plotlines or intricate complications. But then again, how often do we get something like this from Hollywood anymore? It is certainly not a lot. Rating: Three stars.
When his colleague is killed in a car crash, worn out journalist Steve
Everett inherits her story a human interest piece on a man due to be
executed at midnight that night. Everett tries to balance his collapsing
personal life with his feeling that the condemned man, Beachum, is innocent.
He begins to search for the vital evidence that will prove his feeling
This sounds like you know where it's going a worn out journalist (alcoholic), an innocent man on death row, an investigation etc etc .but for the majority this manages to avoid all the usual pitfalls. It does this by being very well written, instead of caricatures we have characters. Everett is a mess, and Eastwood lets us see this we're used to seeing rogue cops and journalists sleeping around, drinking etc, but here we see the consequences of this. Likewise we are made to feel for the Beachum family and get a feel for the human stories that exist in the support characters. However, with 30 minutes to go, we have the usual twist and countdown thriller conclusion that spoils it a lot, but not completely.
Eastwood is excellent as a director, but he's even better here as a actor. At times he plays it too light, but for the majority we can see him weighted down by the pressure of his quest but also the self inflicted collapse of his personal life. This is not an ego-driven project. Washington however steals the show with a great performance, you can't help be moved by his dignity Denzel is not the only Washington who is under-rewarded. Lisa Gay Hamilton is also superb and works really well with Washington together they take some scenes that could have been soapy or melodramatic and make them powerful and emotional. Woods is good and has good banter with Eastwood, but a times feels out of place with the mood of the film but he does provide some humour. Leary is great in a non-comedy role, he is the representation of Everett's selfishness. Diane Venora is OK in a small role as Everett's wife (the casting director had clearly seen her similar role in Heat). And we have small roles for McKean and a strange role from Lucy Liu very small considering she had already done a few big movies.
We get some `jobs for the boys' but they don't affect the quality Eastwood has his wife (at time of writing!) Dina Eastwood and his daughter Francesca in side roles.
Overall, it may fall into the usual crime thriller cliché of a big twist, but up till then it is an assured character driven piece that is very enjoyable to watch.
Clint Eastwood's True Crime shows how even at the ripe old age of 69 (or 70) he can still make a film that has an equal level of skill and practical entertainment value to his older ones. It's nothing great as art, however, and I doubt that it'll be put along the ranks of his great westerns of really chilling cop thrillers. But I remember seeing it twice in the theater (the second time as it was the only movie I could see as being worth seeing among the lot of movies that were out in the theater that time of the year), and thinking well enough of it both times. It's a perfunctory, suspenseful look at a flawed-man though hard-edged journalist (Eastwood) who is trying to find the truth of a death years earlier to save a man's life on deat5h row (Isaiah Washingon is convincing as this man). Denis Leary and James Woods give their all for Eastwood here as co-stars, and there's always a sense of other good character actors in the mix as well (Michael Jeter anyone?). With moments of sorrow mixed with touches of dark comedy, and a finale we all know is coming but keeps us biting the nails all the way, it's not bad at all. If I wouldn't rank it right up there with the best of Eastwood's it might be because of its pat predictability and somewhat lack of interest in the core case in the story. B+
After seeing many other reviews for this film, my interest was dulled, but when it aired on TV, I said "hey, why not", and I ended up being pleasently surprised. OK, it is formulamatic, but it is undeniably suspensful, and always entertaining. Its another film that shows that our justice system is not perfect. Also, great cast as well, James Woods(Videodrome, Casino), and look quick for Christine Ebersol(Amadeus), and even Anthony Zerbe(Papillon, The Dead Zone), he plays the governor for a few seconds near the end, if anyone cares. Once again, its a really good film, deserves at least 7.0 user rating. I'll give it 8.
"True Crime" was a real surprise for me. I expected a good movie, but I
didn't expect an excellent movie, and excellent movie is what I got. Clint
Eastwood is a truly gifted individual, both as an actor and as a director.
This is by far one of his best achievements, and is the best film of 1999 so
The film is the story of a sexually promiscuous journalist, Steve Everett played by Clint Eastwood, who is assigned to interview a man just before his execution. The man on death row insists that he is innocent, and Steve having a "nose" for sniffing when something is astray, believes him and desperately begins an investigation with the hope of saving his life. At first, the film seems to be trying to send a message about the death penalty, but soon we realize that this is not the case. There are many other integral issues being explored. I mentioned earlier that Steve is promiscuous in that he has had sexual relations with a number of his coworkers. He describes himself as "searching for love". Considering that he is married, he seems like a lonely man. There are a number of crude sexual innuendos thrown around the office at the Tribune and at first they don't seem to make sense. At points, they are incredibly funny, but they seem out of place, but it becomes evident that this is a further reflection of Steve's lonely character. He is a lonely man who lives in the articles that he writes for the Oakland Tribune. Perhaps this is why he gets so involved in them. Here he wants to save a man from being executed, a year before he tried to prove that a man who had committed rape was innocent. Steve seems to live in this sort of reality. In a heartbreaking scene, Steve's wife says that she is not one of his articles.
One of the most interesting aspects of "True Crime" is the references to Santa Claus. We see a homeless man on the street trying get get some money and sex. We later see him in a Santa Claus outfit, and he says that if you're going to be Santa Claus "you're going to be alone" What is is that Santa Claus supposedly does? He gives us presents, right? The figure of Santa becomes a metaphor for Steve's life as a journalist. He gives people their presents by writing good articles, but is in fact alone. In an earlier scene one of his coworkers tells him that he can't be Santa because he doesn't exist. Metaphorically however, he can exist, and Steve represents him as a journalist. One may ask, why use Santa as this metaphor. I suspect it's pure irony. Santa Claus is typically seen as bringing people together at the joyous time of Christmas, but maybe one could view the mythological being as someone who is also lonely because he spends so much time trying to make other people happy. But the whole notion of Santa is mythological and even spiritual, so one can conceive of him as doing things only for other people and being happy, but human beings like Steve have a need to pursue their own happiness, and it is here that Steve's character is torn, thus creating the tension with significant others in his life.
Ultimately, the film is about loneliness, and I must say that it is one of the only films that I have seen that has effectively implemented both humor and tragedy in a useful way. The story in itself is is no way funny, but there are many moments of hilarity that work effectively. Unlike other films, the humor is not used to distract us from the tragedy of the events that occur in the plot, but rather are a clever representation of Steve's character and the irony of the situation.
There is a good movie in here someplace trying to get out. The main problem is a lack of focus. Is it a character study of an unlikable guy? Is it a murder mystery? Is it a polemic against capital punishment? The answer to all three is "yes." As a result, it does all of them reasonably well, but none of them as well as it might. I will give Eastwood credit for taking on a character who is so difficult to like. Of course, I must join the legions on IMDb decrying -- and laughing at -- Clint for making his character a ladies man. Maybe if he had been hitting on 55 year olds instead of hot 30 years olds it would have been more credible -- and less distasteful. But as a screed against the death penalty this movie is effective, though the deck is stacked because the accused is innocent as well as likable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was the most hackneyed piece of trash I've ever sat down to watch.
Everything was predictable, from the car crash in the beginning to the
supposedly exciting finish.
The opening of the movie was the best part. The viewer hasn't a clue why this man is being examined or why they are taking down all this trivial information. But then we move into a bar where an aging Clint Eastwood is sharing a cocktail with a twenty-something colleague of the opposite sex. She's very attractive, and I'm not sure how much they paid her for her short part, but being forced to swap spit with someone old enough to be her great grandfather should have made her eligible for hazardous duty pay. I'm sure there are a few aging baby boomers who still find Clint sexy, but that scene was done better in Scary Movie 4, and much more appropriate in a comedy.
Now who didn't see the car crash coming? A young lady has a few drinks, leaves the bar, the scene outside was heavy with fog and foreshadowing. Then we see her fiddling with the radio in pouring rain. We all know what's going to happen and thus the crash is absolutely gratuitous. Gratuitous and over the top: what could have taken less than a second seems to go on forever and ever as the tires screech and car spins again and again and again. Later we learn that she died on "Dead Man's Curve." Can you say "cliché?"
The clichés don't end there. In fact, they just don't end. Eastwood plays a recovering drunk, on the way out, hoping to reclaim his lost reputation. Everywhere he turns, he finds brick walls. The district attorney is a cliché: convinced that the person about to be executed is guilty. Eastwood's boss is a cliché: on his case, wants him gone, sure he's back on the bottle. Eastwood is the only one convinced that the convict is innocent and he's got just a few hours to save him. The stuff exciting endings are made of.
But then we see a flashback of the actual murder. The accused, played by Isaiah Washington, is in the store's bathroom, when the victim is shot. He runs out, drops to his knees, and panics. He calls for help and tries to give the girl mouth to mouth resuscitation, when in walks a customer wanting to make a phone call. He stands up and then suddenly remembers he's a cliché of a black man. We can almost hear his thoughts: "Oh geesus, I's be black. Dat white man gonna think I done killed dis white girl. Feet don't fail me now!" and he runs from the scene of the crime.
Good lord. Nobody, I repeat, NOBODY in the middle of a life or death crisis who is trying to save the life of another human being breaks out of that mode of thought to think about his own petty personal world. This was the bullcrap upon which this whole story turns? Well, at this point, they lost me entirely.
I jumped ahead to the exciting final moments with Eastwood driving his beater recklessly to the Governor's house with his "witness" in the car with him.
Just in the nick of time.
Finally, to fulfill the cliché ridden beginning and middle, we end with a Christmas cliché. Eastwood is out shopping, he exits the store, looks up, and sees the convict whose life he saved out shopping with his family. Yes, two perfect strangers brought together by coincidence, with one alive only because of the hard work and determination of the other, will always meet later during the season of joy. Believe me, I did not get the warm and fuzzies.
If I ever see this title listed in my television's guide, I will immediately say to myself: I'd rather be waterboarded.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is another piece of magnificent work by Clint.
I only have two problems with this film.
Firstly, Steve looks too old to have such a young daughter, who looks more like his grandchild, despite the fact that she is really his daughter. I mean, films are made to suit viewers' normal perception and not necessarily reality.
Secondly, when Frank meets Steve in the last scene, how can he acted so coldly when seeing someone who had saved his life, his family and everything he owns? Normally, Frank should have given Steve a big hug and plenty of grateful words. He couldn't have just raised his hand and walked away with his family indifferently after what had happened in the film.
Otherwise I enjoy the rest of the film.
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