True Story, film review: First feature from theatre's Rupert Goold is an unfocused affair

(15) Rupert Goold, 99 mins. Starring: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones
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The Independent Culture

There have been many books and movies about writers and the killers whose stories they've tried to tell for gain.

The first feature from theatre's Rupert Goold is an unfocused, inchoate affair about Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill), a journalist who, at a low ebb, befriends alleged killer Christian Longo (James Franco) and secures a contract to write a book about his case.

Franco is well cast as the manipulative Longo and Hill brings earnest intensity to the reporter trying to redeem himself, but it is never clear whether the film is a study in journalistic bad faith, a courtroom procedural or a drama of very different characters who provide a twisted reflection of one another.