A journalist´s way to the heart of the reader is not confusion, but truth. Because it´s harder for the reader to accept the blankness and nudity of the truth than getting mesmerized by the reflection of their own beliefs and opinions.
“True Story” is the story of two men who at first, on the surface, appear to be very different from eachother: One (played by James Franco) is accused of the homicide of his entire family; the other one (played by Jonah Hill) is a successful New York Times-Journalist, though, he is also accused of manipulating the facts of his covergae in order to make it more believable, to reflect people´s view on certain problems instead of unmasking the much broader and complex truth. The drama starts with an introduction of those two characters in their most vulnearble and life-changing moment: the first one introduces himself to a stranger as the other one, while the latter realizes that with his next move, his career might be in jeopardy.
Their meetings in the prison are preferably documented by close-ups which makes it possible to see every twitch of the eyes, every wrinkle of a smile and witness the exchange of lies and trues. In “True Story”, it is never about knowing if one committed the crime he was accused of. It is not about innocence or guilt, but whether one can really know when the story stops and truth begins or the other way around.
Throughout the drama, extremes and simultaenously similarities dominate the scenography and atmosphere: great heat vs. icy cold, bright secondary colours vs. dark primary colours and so on. Two elements which appear so different and extreme that suddenly because of their shared perversion they are the same. Because isn´t it as gruesome to be free, healthy, happy and tell the story of a man who killed his whole family, as being imprisoned, psychichally damaged and indifferent? Isn´t the real prison the own mind rather than the physical presence of cellbars? There are probably very divergent opinions about these last thoughts, though, there is no right or wrong answer.
Seemingly and quite fantastically simulated, the characters seem to grow and change throughout the movie. However, there is only one person who retrieves from the passive role into an active one: the (ex-)journalist´s girlfriend (played by Felicity Jones). But, here I ask myself: Was she really ever passive? Didn´t she know from the beginning on that this was not about finding the truth or with other words: She was aware that for both men it was the sought of the best way to tell a story.
All three lead actors performed – in my opinion – incredibly good and nearly seemed themselves to have lost the sense for a story or the truth.
For everyone who enjoys thrillers, mysteries and a lot of thinking after watching a movie should definitly see “True Story” whose title itself is only a mirror for us to recognize that we are the living completion of two extremes: a story and the truth.