Steve Everett, Oakland Tribune journalist with a passion for women and alcohol, is given the coverage of the upcoming execution of murderer Frank Beachum. His attractive colleague Michelle died in a car accident the night before. Bob Findley, Steve’s boss and husband to Steve’s current affair, wants him dead and gone as soon as possible. When Steve stumbles across the possibility of Frank Beachum being innocently on death row, Bob feels his time to have come. Now Steve only has a few hours left to prove the innocence of Frank and to be right with this theory, as he definitely will be history if he’s not.
True Crime is a 1999 American mystery drama film directed by Clint Eastwood, and based on Andrew Klavan’s 1995 novel of the same name. Eastwood also stars in the film as a journalist covering the execution of a death row inmate, only to discover that the convict may actually be innocent.
About the Story
Steve Everett (Clint Eastwood), an Oakland journalist recovering from alcoholism, is assigned to cover the execution of convicted murderer Frank Beechum (Isaiah Washington) following the death in a car wreck of Everett’s colleague, Michelle Ziegler (Mary McCormack), who had originally been assigned to the story.
Everett, despite instructions to the contrary from his editor, investigates the background to the case and comes to suspect that Beechum has been wrongly convicted of murdering Amy Wilson (Marissa Ribisi), a cashier, in a shop. He gets permission from his editor’s boss to investigate, and is told that the top editor would call the Governor, and that would do the job, if Everett gets hard proof. He thus has a little over 12 hours to confirm his hunch and save Beechum.
Everett interviews a prosecution witness, Dale Porterhouse (Michael Jeter), who saw Beechum at the store where the shooting took place and said in his statement to the police that he saw him carrying a gun. Everett questions Porterhouse’s account, saying that, because of the layout of the store, he could not have seen a gun in Beechum’s hand and that he maybe said what he did in order to impress his co-workers.
Everett confronts D.A. Cecelia Nussbaum (Frances Fisher) for putting an innocent man on death row. She reveals that a third person was interviewed after the crime, a young man, Warren, who claimed he had only stopped at the store to buy a soda from a machine outside and saw nothing. Everett decides that Warren, never called as a witness, is probably the real killer. He breaks into the deceased reporter’s house, suspecting that she had been onto something and finds her file on Warren. Meanwhile, Warden Luther Plunkett (Bernard Hill) also starts to have doubts about Beechum’s guilt.
True Crime (1999)
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Isaiah Washington, Denis Leary, Lisa Gay Hamilton, James Woods, Laila Robins, Leslie Griffith, Lucy Liu, Christine Ebersole, Nancy Giles
Screenplay by: Larry Gross, Paul Brickman, Stephen Schiff
Production Design by: Henry Bumstead
Cinematography by: Jack N. Green
Film Editing by: Joel Cox
Set Decoration by: Richard C. Goddard
Art Direction by: Jack G. Taylor Jr.
Music by: Lennie Niehaus
MPAA Rating: R for language and some violence.
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: March 19, 1999