Volume 92, Issue 93

Wednesday, March 24, 1999


True Crime escapes capital punishment

Underground Sound

A passionless Hollywood

Bullock's Force carries new film

True Crime escapes capital punishment

Photo by Phil Bray

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR TALKING TO? YOU LUCKY PUNK... NO, WAIT... GOD I'M OLD. True Crime features a vintage Clint Eastwood who also directs the picture.

By Laszlo Benak

Gazette Staff

Clint Eastwood's latest producing, directing and acting effort tells a harrowing tale, but unfortunately it fails to accomplish anything unique and the result is a plot flying loosely around subplots, mixed with uninspiring sequences of action.

True Crime tells the story of a hard luck journalist looking to break the story of a lifetime. The movie takes place during the last 24 hours of convicted killer Frank Beachum's life. Beachum, played by Isaiah Washington, is in a race against time which will determine whether he lives or dies.

Fate takes over Steve Everett (Eastwood), as he tries to uncover the truth in the last precarious hours. However, due to his womanizing, unconvincingly portrayed by beautiful women less than half his age, Eastwood's life falls apart when he continues in his quest to stop a seemingly horrible injustice from occurring.

Herein lies the greatest strength of the film. The movie's ability to reveal each clue to the viewer helps intensify the plot and turn just another drama into an exciting detective flick.

The film successfully incorporates some tense flashback sequences to provide the viewer with a better picture of Washington's perilous situation. As a result of these flashbacks and a solid cast, True Crime succeeds in maintaining the audience's interest for most of the movie's duration.

In addition to Eastwood and Washington, the movie also features James Woods and Denis Leary. Both play very slick California newspaper editors.

Woods proves refreshing as Eastwood's often hilarious boss. He is particularly effective in a memorable scene in which he confronts Eastwood about his infidelity. The dependable Leary is also convincing as Eastwood's nemesis at the paper, while still managing to get the audience to side with his point of view. Washington provides perhaps the most moving performance of all, as he skillfully sways the audience to sympathize with his precarious situation.

Nevertheless, True Crime is undoubtedly an Eastwood vehicle. Simply through his screen presence he makes the movie more exciting, as the audience intently hangs onto each word he mutters. Although the unfolding plot and solid performances are successful in their attempt to intensify the film towards the climax, they can only carry the movie so far.

True Crime also suffers from overdrawn dialogue, especially during the first half. It produces nothing which effectively grabs the audience's attention until the film is well under way. Eastwood spends too much time focusing on the dull sub plot, which only seems to break up the pace of the main story line.

As the story unfolds, so do numerous holes in the plot. True Crime proves to be rather far-fetched and uninspiring, especially since the reasons behind Washington's death row sentence are totally unrealistic. Moreover, the movie contains many cliches which become regretfully predictable by the conclusion.

Audiences expect more from a renowned talent such as Eastwood, but he has certainly missed the mark. With what amounts to little more than a well acted, but standard drama, True Crime is ultimately disappointing.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999