33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2000
At least two scenes of TRUE CRIME should stay in my memory for a very long time : the visit at the zoo with Clint Eastwood shouting "Speed Zoo" and "We're going fast" while pushing his daughter on wheels and the scene involving Clint and James Woods for a conversation about women, ethics and capital punishment : two great actors for a moment of pure pleasure.
At first, TRUE CRIME could be considered as another movie about capital punishment. Well filmed, with a good rythm and convincing actors, this movie is the perfect movie to rent. But take a second look at TRUE CRIME and you won't be disappointed. This movie can be seen one, two or three times, it will still unveil a lot of goodies. One can admire how Clint Eastwood compares with subtlety the destiny of Steve Everett and Frank Beechum by using descriptions of similar situations : for example, the two little girls harassing their fathers with multiple demands at a crucial moment. Let's also observe how Clint uses a clever editing to pass from Beechum's cell to Clint's scenes : cigarettes, paintings (the green pastures) for instance are themes that bind the two destinies.
I strongly recommend this film which is another masterpiece in the exceptional directorial career of Clint Eastwood. Sound and images perfect for me with above-averages extra-features.
A DVD for your library. At least, I hope so !
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2000
When I first saw the trailer, I thought this was going to be a boring movie. But once I saw it, I just had to get the word out that this was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. The movie is filled with suspense, great acting, and a wonderful plot/story. It's about an innocent man saved from the death penalty at the exact moment. To enjoy the movie you must see it with the proper settings and without distraction. Otherwise, you won't enjoy it as much. The movie has a lot of big names in the movie including Clint Eastwood, who produced and directed this movie, Dennis Leary, and etc. Happened to see Absolute Power, directed by Eastwood, but this movie is a much superior film. Eastwood definitely redeemed himself in this one. So go watch this great film.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 1999
I liked it for reasons others might not: The characters were monumentally flawed, except perhaps for Eastwood's wife. And it was refreshing to see overpaid movie actors not playing the perfect people they usually insist on playing (William Goldman, the screenwriter, says he has to write novels, because just writing screenplays means writing only perfect people, and gets tiresome). Regarding the comment about Eastwood in bed with the thirty-ish woman: the woman looked pretty beat up to me, too, and possibly forty-ish. But Eastwood should have kept his shirt on. He lifts weights, and has muscle bulk, but the skin on his torso looks too old to show off. But I'd rather see Clint Eastwood with his shirt off, than Marlon Brando with his! Anyway, Eastwood plays a guy who is really a jerk (like in the "speed zoo" scene) a lot of the time, and I found that interesting. Personally, I think Eastwood is a sloppy director. His movies he's directed have a clunky feel, and this one had that too, but not so much that good aspects of his direction weren't evident. (His sloppiest direction effort was the pathetically clunky one he did two pictures ago, where Gene Hackman plays the President, and whose title escapes me). Logic was stretched in this film, but it was believable enough for me.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2000
When a jaded reporter gets an eleventh hour assignment to witness an execution at San Quentin, it turns into a personal quest for justice as he spends the last hours of the convicted man's life in a last-ditch effort to get to the truth of the case. "True Crime," directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, is a taut thriller that goes to the wire as Steve Everett (Eastwood), a journalist and recovering alcoholic, tries to find out what really happened that fateful day when Frank Beachum (Isaiah Washington) entered a convenience store to buy a bottle of steak sauce and wound up being convicted of murdering the store clerk. It's not a campaign born entirely of compassion, however; Everett has had a checkered career that has taken him to the top of his profession, only to have his own errors of judgment (attributed to the bottle) precipitate a swift decline that has ensconced him in a job at a large paper in the Bay area of Northern California writing personality pieces and sidebar profiles. He's not a man of tremendously high ideals or great conviction, and his moral character is somewhat ambiguous, but he demands one thing from himself and everyone else when it comes to reporting a story: The truth. In that he is adamant, and he pursues it without compromise using the one tool in his personal arsenal that has never (when he is sober) failed him, his "nose" for news, that innate sense that unfailingly leads him to that which he is seeking. In the case of Frank Beachum, Everett's nose tells him he is innocent; but he's only got a few hours to prove it. And it's been awhile since his "nose" has been put to the test; the last time turned into a debacle that cost him his reputation. This time, not only his job, but a man's life is on the line. And the clock is ticking. Behind the camera, Eastwood is a master storyteller; he exacts winning performances from his actors, delivers his movies with a deliberate pace and cadence, and knows how to keep the tension on the edge right up to the very end. And this film is no exception. As an actor, he's reached a maturity that lends itself perfectly to characters like Everett, imbuing him with a been-there-done-that countenance, from the expressive lines in his face to the way he carries himself physically, that not only makes him an interesting (if not entirely sympathetic ) character, but adds nuance and credibility to his overall performance. Washington and Lisa Gay Hamilton (Bonnie Beachum) also give excellent, emotionally stirring performances that anchor this story of a desperate family that finds an unlikely champion in Everett, in whom their only hope for justice and survival lies. In a terrific supporting role, James Woods plays Alan Mann, the editor for whom Everett works; it's a dynamic performance that produces some great and memorable scenes between his character and Eastwood. Denis Leary is also outstanding as Bob Findley, Everett's boss, and he turns in a subtle, understated performance that works as a perfect counterpoint to the characters of Everett and Mann. Things really ignite when the three of them are in a scene together. Also memorable in supporting roles are Diane Venora (Barbara Everett), Bernard Hill (Warden Plunkitt), Michael McKean (Reverend Shillerman), Michael Jeter (Dale Porterhouse) and Mary McCormack (Michelle). Be advised, "True Crime" is a movie that will put you through your paces. From the beginning, you realize that it's highly unlikely that Everett will succeed; there just isn't enough time. But you also know that "it ain't over `till it's over," so you hang on to that slim thread of hope, and through that you are readily able to relate to Beachum's situation. And it makes you realize that if hope is all you have, at least it's better than nothing. After all, sometimes in the end, it all pans out for the better.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2004
Another great Eastwood directed film with terrific performances by everyone in the cast especially (i.e. Isaiah Washington, Lisa Gay Hamilton and James Woods). Eastwood is one of my favorite directors ever. If you are in any way familiar with an old radio show called "Nightbeat" this film is very similiar. This one has a very suspenseful ending.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2000
You know the story: man about to be executed and last minute fight to save him. The only thing is, the directing and acting by Clint Eastwood is so good and the story line is so riveting, that it holds you and grabs you in the gut, from beginning to end. All of the acting is worth the price and Eastwood's real daughter (who plays his little girl inthe movie), is amazing in her short acting bits. What a kid! As the recovered alcoholic newspaper reporter, Eastwood still has the nose for the truth in this good script. If you favor capital punishment, you may think it through again after seeing this film.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 1999
I've read the reviews from other people, and felt they were a bit unfair. I completly agree that seeing Clint half-naked isn't the best scene in the movie, that the plot is somehow predictible, and Clint should play womanizers anymore.
Still, Clint is still a fantastic actor, the performance by Isaiah Washington is nothing less than outstanding.
The movie itself has a light smell of the 70s, which remind the Dirty Harry days.
I enjoyed this movie, I can also accept some people didn't, but I think it was good
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Okay, let's get two sore points out of the way: Yes, Clint is really a little too old for the leading role, especially in pairing him with such young ladies; and yes, James Woods goes way over top in his cartoonish role as Alan, the editor in chief. But, aside from that TRUE CRIME is an astounding work for the director Eastwood. The real stars of the picture, however, are Isaiah Washington and Lisa Gay Hamilton. As the doomed but innocent Frank Beecham, Washington controls his performance, making him both heartbreakingly real. No overacting here. He uses his face, his body, his voice to convey the hopelessness and fear of his impending execution for a crime he did commit. Hamilton as his wife, Bonnie, has a very demanding role, and her grip on this character is unbelievably subtle and intense. Some real tear-jerking scenes in this one. Hard to believe Washington and Hamilton were overlooked at Oscar time. Denis Leary is exceptionally good as Eastwood's boss who finds out his wife is sleeping with Eastwood. Leary could have taken this over the top, but he again controls the anguish, jealousy (both professionally and personally), and doesn't resort to familiar tactics. Bernard Hill as the warden, Michael Jeter as a key witness, and Michael McKean as a really scuzzy minister also do well.
Also, the lovely song voiced by Diana Krall, should have made it to the Oscar nominations too! Her voice reflects the hopelessness and despair of the film's script. The writers should also be commended for its faithfulness to Andrew Klavin's excellent novel.
A very good film and worth seeing.
IT MAKES YOU STOP AND THINK ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2000
This is a very good movie and one of the first that I have seen that actually does justice to the book. There are minor differences in the plot, but some of the dialogue is word for word. The supporting cast is wonderful. Isaiah Washington and Lisa Gay Hamilton give Oscar caliber performances. James Woods is well...James Woods. Dennis Leary was a great surprise in his role as the paper's editor. Washington and Lisa Gay Hamilton are the true stars, however. As a parent, I must say that the scene in which Washington says goodbye to his daughter is unbelievable. It could not have been done any better. I recommend this video highly and look forward to seeing these two in more films in the near future.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2000
I agree with all of the criticisms, especially of Clint Eastwood's appearance (get a new hair & makeupman, Clint, or at least look in a mirror), especially since he looked just right, & his romance was believeable in: IN THE LINE OF FIRE.But this movie is a lot of fun, and compelling, too-the journalists are overpaid crumbs, but they always are. Ditto the law enforcement establishment. But the on-scene crime investigation he does, the bits and pieces he fits together are just as thrilling, and even more compelling, than what Jimmy Stewart did in the same role in CALL NORTHSIDE 777.All these things are so well done, and the prisoner and his family so unique and real, that you wonder if the rest of the film is a mess, or just a comment on the reporter (Clint Eastwood's) messed up life. In contrast, the death row prisoner has his life in order and is a clear, compelling personality, a worthy successor to Richard Conte's portrayal of the lifer in CALL NORTHSIDE 777. In the 1948 film, Jimmy Stewart seemed to have it made in a comfy marriage to a lovely woman, so maybe Clint Eastwood's fractured life just reflects present-day realities. But the fascinating thing in both films is how the freewheeling reporter characters bounce their egos off the helpless convict's, and seem to have met their match in courage and screen charisma.