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True Story (2015)

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When disgraced New York Times reporter Michael Finkel meets accused killer Christian Longo - who has taken on Finkel's identity - his investigation morphs into a game of cat-and-mouse.

Director:

Rupert Goold

Writers:

Rupert Goold (screenplay by), David Kajganich (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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407 ( 45)
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonah Hill ... Michael Finkel
James Franco ... Christian Longo
Felicity Jones ... Jill Barker
Maria Dizzia ... MaryJane Longo
Ethan Suplee ... Pat Frato
Conor Kikot Conor Kikot ... Zach Longo
Charlotte Driscoll Charlotte Driscoll ... Sadie Longo
Stella Rae Payne Stella Rae Payne ... Madison Longo
Robert John Burke ... Greg Ganley
Byron Jennings ... Judge Odenkirk
Gretchen Mol ... Karen Hannen
Betty Gilpin ... Cheryl Frank
Seth Barrish ... Blaise
Robert Stanton ... Jeffrey Gregg
Michael Countryman ... Coroner
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Storyline

Jonah Hill plays Michael Finkel, a recently terminated New York Times journalist who's struggling for work after a story gone wrong. One day, he receives a phone call from a man regarding an FBI Most Wanted individual named Christian Longo, who's been captured and claimed to be living as Finkel. Longo and Finkel meet and form a potentially marriage shattering bond while Longo is in prison awaiting his trial. Finkel exchanges journalism tips for the real events behind Longo's alleged heinous acts of murdering his family. Through the twists and turns in the movie, only at the end will Finkel uncover the True Story. Written by Mayor_G

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Some stories are beyond belief


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some disturbing material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Ibo

Release Date:

17 April 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A História Verdadeira See more »

Filming Locations:

Warwick, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,930,000, 19 April 2015, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$4,715,819, 31 May 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The third non-comedic film starring Jonah Hill, after Moneyball (2011). See more »

Goofs

When Mike Finkel is returning home after losing his job at the times, he is seated on a wide body Airbus aircraft, either an A330 or A340. The captain announces they will be landing shortly in Bozeman, MT. No airline has ever served Bozeman with a widebody Airbus aircraft. See more »

Quotes

Michael Finkel: I'm a liar? You stole my identity!
Christian Longo: I was in Mexico, who else was I supposed to choose?
See more »


Soundtracks

Se La Mia Morte Brami
Written by Carlo Gesualdo
Performed by Delitiae Musicae
Conducted by Marco Longhini
Courtesy of Naxos
By arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

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User Reviews

 
with a wink
19 April 2015 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. "Sometimes the truth isn't believable. But that doesn't mean it's not true". These words are spoken by Christian Longo, the man accused of brutally murdering his wife and 3 kids in 2001. The line between truth and lies is at the core of this real life story based on journalist Michael Finkel's memoir and recollections of his conversations with Longo.

The New York Times investigative reporter Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) is introduced to us as he is researching the story which ultimately leads to his dismissal, after it's discovered he played fast and loose with details in order to present a more impactful story. Soon he receives an odd phone call from an Oregon writer (Ethan Suplee) who informs Finkel that his name is being used by Longo (James Franco), the suspected murderer who was recently captured in Mexico. As a disgraced journalist, Finkel seizes the opportunity to connect with Longo, and soon enough the two morally-compromised men are locked in psychological warfare, where we as viewers aren't sure just who is using who in this oddball "friendship".

Hill and Franco are best known for their raunchy and raucous comedies, and both deliver much "quieter" performances than what we have come to expect from them. While it's a bit of stretch to buy Jonah Hill as a renowned writer, Franco is absolutely chilling as a manipulative psychopath. Franco is so good in the role that he overpowers Hill, which undermines what was supposed to be an intricate game of cat and mouse.

Franco is a frightening figure on the courtroom witness stand as he tells his version of that fateful night, and he is equally unnerving to watch in general conversation with Finkel. However, the single best scene in the film comes when Felicity Jones unleashes the wrath of truth on Franco's Longo. Ms. Jones is otherwise underutilized for most of the film, as her relationship with Finkel is never really explored.

Rather than provide any substantive background on what makes either Finkel or Longo tick, we are instead left to make our own assumptions based on the framed magazine covers and the spurts of flashbacks. And thus the film's biggest flaw is cheating us out of the backstory that might help explain the otherwise fascinating conversations/showdowns between these two flawed gents … one significantly more flawed than the other.

It's impossible not to compare this to Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" and the subsequent films based on his writing experience: Capote (2005), and Infamous (2006). Stretching and bending the truth are common themes, as are intriguing and disturbing insights from the writers and the accused.

There are times True Story comes off as little more than a made for TV movie, but the best moments more than make up for it, and Franco's portrayal will stick with you long after Finkel finally understands who and what he is dealing with. It's also a reminder that there are people who "want the truth so badly" they "will lie to get it". Try saying that with a wink.


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