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.