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True Crime


True Crime

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Actor/director Clint Eastwood never quite gets it together in True Crime: It's a bit too creaky, with dialogue that's a little too corny and a plot that just ambles along. But as with most of the films Eastwood directs, it still has quite a bit to recommend it, even if it never adds up to as much as it should. Eastwood plays a womanizing, recovering-alcoholic reporter assigned to cover the execution of a black man (Isaiah Washington) convicted of murdering a white supermarket clerk. Protesting his innocence to the last day, Washington is given faint hope by Eastwood's belief in his claims. But will Eastwood be able to save an innocent man, deal with his grief over the loss of a friend, rescue his marriage, survive the wrath of an editor (Denis Leary) with whose wife he is having an affair, and take his daughter to the zoo before the execution at midnight? With so much going on, it seems almost perverse that, as a director, Eastwood takes his leisurely time telling the story. But he doles out substantial pleasures along the way: Eastwood has given himself an interesting character to play—especially during an electric scene with Washington, who's also quite good, and some eccentric moments with editor-in-chief James Woods. Also fascinating is the film's almost cranky, reluctant embrace of an essentially liberal point of view, furthering the discussion of Eastwood's peculiar politics. With so much going for it, it's something of a shame that True Crime itself, which comes complete with a finale that seems lifted from the final parodic moments of The Player, ultimately disappoints. But as disappointing-but-worthwhile films go, you could do a lot worse.