True Crime (1999) / Drama-Mystery
MPAA Rated: R for language and some violence
Running Time: 127 min.
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Isaiah Washington, Denis Leary, James Woods, Lisa Gay Hamilton
Director: Clint Eastwood
Screenplay: Larry Gross, Paul Brickman, Steven Schiff (based on the novel by Andrew Klavan)
Review published September 18, 1999
An Oakland journalist, alcoholic and womanizer (Eastwood, A Perfect World), is given the job to write a human interest story about a man who is slated to be executed that evening (Washington, Out of Sight). The label on the reporter is that once he had a hunch about the innocence of a rapist. He found evidence to get the rapist free, after which he confesses. Now the reporter's "nose" tells him this time that the death row murder convict may have actually not done the deed. Will he succeed in finding the evidence to absolve him before it's too late or is he on another wild goose chase?
Most of the way, the film proceeds at a snail's pace, with too many scenes which are pointless and characters that have no bearing on the overall story. As was the case in Eastwood's last snooze-fest, Absolute Power, the film desperately needed a half hour of scenes removed which bog down the pace of the film to the point of tedium, and padding is a big no-no in any taut thriller. The other major drawback of this film comes from Eastwood casting himself as the star, as it's difficult to believe a 70 year old man is seducing every 20-30 year old co-worker and wife of co-worker he talks to.
The film has its moments, particularly when the terrific Washington is onscreen, and also sports a solid supporting cast. It's unfortunate Eastwood seems to be past his prime as director, and perhaps even star, to the detriment to what might have been an otherwise thought-provoking and exciting whodunit.
©1999 Vince Leo