True Believer Reviews
(1989) True Believer
One of the stigmas most court shows as well as a lot of movies is that although they're well written and some are based on actual cases, sometimes viewers would want to see a lawyer that is down-to-earth as well! Especially this lawyer whose a chain and a pot smoker, because I have actually met lawyers that act like this and "curse" until they come to the court becoming all respectable and professional again! The stereotypical notion on films and on TV is that lawyers are "always" portrayed are respectable both on and off court which means they act like perfect gentlemen, on such films such as "Reversal of Fortune", "Witness To the Prosecution", "Perry Mason" and "Law and Order" and although those are great films and tv shows to watch, this stigma can also get a little tiring to see all the time as well. Here is one film that does not follow this silly trend because I believe some lawyers are also pot and chain smokers and curse like heck as well, no matter how good intentions there intentions are! I wish more movies or on HBO could display more lawyers act like this character brilliantly acted by James Woods as Eddie Dodd and his protoge played brilliantly by a young Robert Downey JR as Roger who is still a noble associate despite his indifferences with his mentor! To explain the plot of this film is too far- fetch except that it involves squeeling to prisoners, corruption, bickering lawyers, skinheads, betrayls, double crossings, reinactments, racism, mistaken identity's, coincidences, racial profile and deaths and without brilliant writing by Wesley Strick and the acting chops of James Woods that with each viewing for as long as this film's been around since 1989 is like another new experience for me wishing for a sequel or a lawyer that consists with this kind of magnitude! Upon my first viewing, the line that stood out the most quoted by James Woods - "Everybody is guilty!, everybody"
As I had mentioned, saw this film three times already once every few years with each experience as a new one! I just wish I had given this film a higher rating except that the storyline is unbelievable but has to be seen to be believed!
3.5 out of 4
James Woods (with a stupid ponytail) is a maverick civil rights lawyer who takes on cases others don't, partnered with rookie Robert Downey Jr, he tries to clear a convict's name after he has already been serving 8 years for murder.
I'm a big fan of the two main actors and this movie was entertaining enough, it's just a shame about all the cliches. I always thought James Woods deserved better. A very good actor.
I'm surprised by the critics' positive reviews of this thoroughly unexceptional film. Most of the reviews focus on Woods's performance, but whereas his other characters' extravagant posturing seemed to fit the situation and persona, here, he simply seems unreasonable and unstable. He irrationally yells at his cohorts, spouting treatises about justice for society's less fortunate, and everything he says is right and justified, but the manner with which he says it reminds me of those pundits on television "news" who do nothing but scream at each other. His character is supposed to be a remnant from the 60s, as indicated by the pony tail wig and the pot, but there's no real exploration of his past and how that past shaped his present. And amid all the histrionics is Robert Downey Jr. who has never been more unnoticable.
As a film, this is a wholly predictable procedural with fewer surprises than the worst episode of Law and Order. The clues are all obviously placed, and the final courtroom scene is so theatrical that it defies all believability.
Overall, after I read positive reviews of a film I didn't like, I normally reconsider my star rating, but True Believer was too poorly constructed and too pedestrian as a whole.