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The Whole Truth–And Nothing But….

In this 2016 legal thriller The Whole Truth  defense attorney Richard Ramsay (Keanu Reeves) comes to the aid of Mike (Gabriel Basso), the seventeen-year-old son of his friends Boone (Jim Belushi) and Loretta Lassiter (Renée Zellweger).  Mike has been accused of the murder of his father, a secretively abusive  womanizer, who browbeats his son into attending Stanford University. A police officer at the scene of the crime testifies in court that Mike mumbled “I should’ve done it long ago”  and asserts that Mike’s fingerprints were found on the murder weapon.

Mike has completely shut down emotionally and refuses to speak, leaving Ramsay with little means to defend the teenager.  A  brilliant, almost supernaturally perceptive  lawyer, Janelle Brady (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), agrees to be his co-counsel, after a mysterious hiatus from  a high-powered law firm.   Overhearing a whispered conversation between Ramsay and Loretta, Janelle confronts Ramsay, who says that his duty is to save Mike, not to speak the truth. 

As the trial continues without Mike saying a word, witness after witness seems to confirm the teenager’s culpability.  That is, until Mike reluctantly finds his voice and takes the stand.  The viewer is then privy to one shocking reveal after another until almost the finale.

This film was difficult to review.  The acting is quite good, even from the virtually unrecognizable Renée Zellweger.  (Her voice is the giveaway).  The Whole Truth unfolds as a thriller that is far better than I expected, due to  the performances by Keanu Reeves, Jim Belushi and the always excellent Gugu Mbatha-Raw.  Reeves especially holds the audience’s interest with a series of plot points that congeal only at the very end, with a somewhat disappointing ending, when a riveting totally unpredictable gutpunch was possible a few minutes earlier.  The flashbacks are overdone at times, blunting the momentum.  As an entertaining courtroom drama, The Whole Truth is not the very best but it isn’t a waste of time either.  Recommended if you’re looking for something better-than-average to watch.

Availability: Prime and Apple+

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