Film poster for True Crime - Copyright 1999

Film poster for True Crime – Copyright 1999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clint Eastwood miscast himself as a newspaper reporter in the 1999 True Crime, but a bigger problem is the weak plot.  Based on an Andrew Klavan novel, the film’s serious subject is the death-row conviction of an innocent man (Isaiah Washington).  Steve, the reporter, interviews people for his paper but he also likes to play Dick Tracy, and he doesn’t understand how a male witness, after a homicide, could have seen the innocent convict’s gun through a rack of potato chips.  Nice try, but this won’t fly as a plot device.

On the positive side, the anguish of the convict and his family is handled movingly, and there is a powerful scene of marital breakup featuring Eastwood and an extraordinary Diane Venora.  Both these scenes belong in a better movie—one, in fact, that doesn’t rely on constant profanity and obscenity to hold a viewer’s attention.  (Thanks, Clint, for your use of James Woods in this regard.)  True Crime is somewhat of an offense.