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Film Date :   April 17, 2015
Genre :   Drama Thriller Mystery   
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True Story

True Story

True Storyis a 2015 American mystery thriller film directed by Rupert Goold and written by Goold and David Kajganich. Based on the memoir of the same name by Michael Finkel , the film stars Jonah Hill , James Franco , Felicity Jones , Gretchen Mol , Betty Gilpin, and John Sharian .

Christian Longo , a man on the FBI's most wanted list for murdering his wife and three children in Oregon. He hid in Mexico under the identity of Michael Finkel , a journalist, played by Hill.The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically on April 17, 2015 in the United States. The film explores the relationship that develops between the two men after the journalist Finkel begins to meet with Longo in prison.

Christian Longo ( James Franco ), an Oregon man whose wife and three children have been discovered murdered, is arrested by police in Mexico. There he claimed to be a reporter for theNew York Timesnamed Michael Finkel.

In New York City, Finkel ( Jonah Hill ) is an ambitious and successful reporter. He is confronted by his editors in a separate incident, who accuse him of partially fabricating a story which they had featured on the cover of theNew York Times Magazine. Although Finkel attempts to defend his actions, he is dismissed. He returns home to Montana, where his wife Jill ( Felicity Jones ) lives. He struggles to find work but is unsuccessful due to his dismissal from theTimes.

Finkel is contacted by a reporter forThe Oregonian ,who is seeking his opinion on Christian Longo's theft of his identity. Finkel, who was not aware of Longo's actions, is intrigued. He arranges to meet with Longo in prison. During their first conversation, Longo claims that he has followed Finkel for his entire career, being fascinated by his writing. Longo agrees to tell Finkel his side of the story, in exchange for writing lessons, and Finkel's promising his silence on their encounters.

Finkel becomes increasingly absorbed by Longo, who is evasive about his guilt. Convinced that the story will be redemptive, Finkel continues to meet and correspond with Longo over several months. Finkel receives numerous letters from Longo, including an eighty-page volume entitled "Wrong Turns", which contains what Longo describes as a list of every mistake he has made in his life. Finkel notices increasing similarities between the two men, including parallels between the styles of writing and drawing in Longo's letters and Finkel's personal journals. As the murder case approaches the time for trial, Finkel's doubt about Longo's guilt increases. Longo tells Finkel he intends to plead not guilty, and that he did not kill his family.

At the plea hearing, Longo pleads not guilty to two of the murders, but pleads guilty to the murder of his wife and one of his daughters. Confused, Finkel confronts Longo, who claims that he has to protect certain individuals, whom he refuses to name. Greg Ganley ( Robert John Burke ), a detective who tracked Longo down, approaches Finkel. He claims that Longo is an extremely dangerous and manipulative man; he tries to convince Finkel to turn over as evidence all of the correspondence between the two. Finkel refuses, citing journalistic integrity and the promise he made to Longo.

At the trial, Longo takes the stand and describes his version of the events. He claims that, after an argument with his wife about financial struggles, he had come home to discover two of his children missing, one of his daughters unconscious, and his wife sobbing, saying that she put the children "in the water". Longo says that he strangled his wife to death in a blind rage, and performed a mercy killing on his daughter afterwards. During his testimony, he refers several times to techniques that Finkel had taught him during his writing lessons.

Longo is found guilty of all charges and sentenced to death. As he is sentenced, he smiles and winks at Finkel. Finkel, to his shock and rage, realizes that Longo has been telling lies the entire time, using him in order to make his testimony more believable. A short time later, Finkel meets Longo on death row. Longo tries to convince Finkel that he discovered his wife strangling their daughter and then blacked out, having no memory of the murders. Finkel angrily tells Longo that he will not believe any more of his lies, and will warn the judge at the upcoming appeal of Longo's manipulative nature. Longo retorts by pointing out the success Finkel has had with his book about their encounters, leaving the reporter shaken.

Finkel reads a section of his book, entitledTrue Story, at a promotional event. Taking questions from the audience, he imagines Longo standing in the back of the room. Longo says that, if he has lost his freedom, Finkel must have lost something as well. Finkel is unable to respond.

Title cards reveal that although Finkel never wrote for theNew York Timesagain, Longo has had several of his pieces written from death row published by the paper.

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