The Whole Truth

I was with this one until they ruined at the very end. It’s a pretty standard yet entertaining courtroom drama until the terrible finish.

After allegedly murdering his father, legal prodigy Mike Lassiter, played by Gabriel Basso, refuses to speak to anyone including his attorney Richard Ramsey played by Keanu Reeves. Ramsey’s in the legal fight of his life, and he doesn’t know what really happened.

I like Keanu Reeves here. He’s a really solid and charismatic lead. He’s supported by a lovely Gugu Mbathaw-Raw. There’s a woman here who is credited as Renee Zellweger, but looks nothing like her. I remember some hubbub about her altered looks a few years ago, but this is the first time I’ve seen her since her transformation. And my goodness I had no idea who she was until she started talking with her very distinct voice. Rounding out the cast is Jim Belushi playing the most monstrously vile murder victim ever.

I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the movie especially when witnesses testify on the stand. Various people are called to give their versions of events. Their words are supported or contradicted by flashbacks to the actual events. A chauffeur says they went straight home. The flashback shows they stopped to pick up some girls. A neighbor testifies that he stood up against the bully. The flashback shows him standing by. It’s a fun and somewhat cynical way of looking at the courtroom drama framework.

I liked watching the process in this movie. We really get to join Ramsey as he tries to play the limited hand he’s dealt and come up with a winning strategy.

I like all the actors. They do really good work. I especially like scene in which am a thaw-Raw’s character has to cross examine a witness and her fumbling start gives way to confident execution through the scene.

The movie is pretty low stakes. In spite of the minor on death row, the movie feels somewhat inconsequential. I never doubted the kid would walk free. I was more interested in finding out what really happened and more importantly why.

Unfortunately, the answer they give is one of the dumbest twists I’ve ever seen in a movie. When it is revealed what happened, I paused the movie and took a walk around the room because I couldn’t believe it. It was stupid. I’m not going to spoil it. I’ll just say there’s a twist at the end, and it’s dumb. It’s so dumb that I will tell everyone to skip this movie. Don’t bother. It’s a bad ending. It’s an ending that ruins the movie and leaves most of its plot threads dangling and forgotten. It screws up the narrative and themes and then cuts to credits. It’s a bad ending.

It wasn’t a great movie before the twist, but it would have made for a great Sunday afternoon movie until that terrible twist. It’s currently streaming on Netflix, but don’t let that encourage you to check this one out.

It’s not my cup of tea. You can skip it. D

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