A cynical ex-civil rights attorney's passion for justice is rekindled when his young associate urges him to reopen the murder case of a young imprisoned gang member. — Genre: Feature Film-Drama — Rating: R — Release Date: 3-A... more »PR-2001
Great movie. Acting is great, Woods is awesome. Lots of twists that catch you off guard. The story hooks you right away!
"A good fight is one y'win!"
Far Lefkas | Balto.-WDC metro area | 04/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"James Woods is erstwhile civil liberties attorney Eddie Dodd, his idealism long since forsaken for 4th Amendment violation-under-every-bed cynicism, & Rbt. Downey, Jr., is his summer intern (well, autumn intern) Roger Barron. Woods character based loosely on Frisco criminal def. lawyer J. Tony Serra.
Dodd's conscience-bending guilt submits to Roger's yuppie charm, & the two pursue the mysteries of why a young Korean gang member is serving time for murder & now's offed a member of some supremacist cult in prison. Woods's Dodd is light years beyond over the top with this, but an excellent supporting cast (Downey, Jr., ["...so we can get off guilty little pricks!"], Margaret Colin, Miguel Hernandez, & "70s Show"'s Kurtwood Smith as a D.A. with a closet full of diced-up skeletons) & brisk dialog make him seem right @home there. To the paranoid, conspiracy-soaked veteran & witness to the original crime: "Cecil, are you what heroes are made of?" Cecil: "I did two tours in 'Nam."
If you can get past the new twist on the climactic courtroom scene & the veritable litany of continuity issues here, "True Believer" is one of the most watchable flicks I've seen---meaning, I can sit thru the whole thing without once hitting the pause button or pondering my full bladder.
The great scene in Eddie's kitchenette (with the de rigueur Chinese food) is especially instructive. When Downey, Jr.'s, Roger spouts armchair activist rhetoric ("We all think it's a good fight."), Woods's Dodd lets loose with a tirade against bleeding-heart do-goodism that would make Bill O'Reilly cringe."
A must for all James Woods junkies!
AynRandLives | Cape Coral, FL USA | 07/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a lawyer who has been both prosecutor and public defender, I have to say this is my favorite movie about lawyers and my favorite James Woods performance. I get goosebumps every time I hear his speech about ..."the only good fight is one you win!", said with the passion and spite that only James Woods has perfected. His comment on plea bargaining, that "..this isn't ... Yale, he [the client] doesn't care if we go down but go down nobly. He's looking at 40 years of hard time, and he bet it all on me!" James Woods looks good with a pony tail, and the opening scene where his new intern, played by Robert Downey, Jr., mistakes him for the cocaine dealer is hilarious. So is the scene where Downey tells Woods he is quitting because he is "tired of using exalted legal principles to get off guilty little pricks". (I bet Downey was glad for those exalted legal principles in his own case.) I have to disagree with the comment that this movie realistically portrays the "insidious relationship between police, district attorneys and their snitches". I wholeheartedly doubt that the frame at the heart of this movie is routine anywhere in the United States. But the movie does say something meaningful about the tragedy that happens when good people with good motives go too far. I knew this movie was a touchstone when someone used Downey's line on me during a job interview where I was seeking to hire an assistant district attorney. He didn't get the job, but I haven't forgotten him-and you won't forget this movie."
M. Hirschi | Sandy, UT United States | 11/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"another of those non-mainstream James Woods movies that turns out to be the one you remember forever. I honestly don't know how Woods can get so much emotion into a character.This is probably his greatest work (with Diggstown right there) and you will be able to experience his characters Frustration, pain, and relief right along side him. A touch of humor to lighten but mostly the best dramatic court scenes and flat out grit will have you recommending this to strangers on the street."
"James Woods has been one of the best actors in the screen. He is outstanding and always he commits in just five hundred per cent in all his performances. Powerful and expressive, but in Hollywood he has had just isolated opportunities. It's missunderstable.
Earl Dodd is very special lawyer, he isn't a typical image of lucky lawyer. and obviously our character lived with too much passion those singular decades from the sixties and seventies.
From this perpective a singular case challenges him; to assume the defense of a chinese acussed of murder, being not guilty. This movie will tell about all the resources and special methods of our antihero for winning this dark case.
Robert Downey Jr. plays the typical role of the rookie naif lawyer who thinks the world is fair and clean. Soon he'll learn too many issues about how to deal with the life and specaiily in this business.
A well built script allows Woods to release all his stamina and skills, specially in front the Court in the first half of the film.
Solid film , with smart situations and a fine sense of humor. Worthy work."
A splendid display of the triumph of idealism over cynicism.
Hiram Gomez Pardo | 06/29/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"True Believer is a film that shows how the human spirit changes, loses its way but is redeemed. James Woods gives a masterful performance as Eddie Dodd, a burnt out lawyer who loses sight of why he first became a lawyer. The sincerity of his performance shines when together with Kim (the Korean wrongly accused of murder) he confesses that the case was really about two people with similiar dilemmas trying to find redemption. The final courtroom scene was masterful as Woods slyly leads the DA to reveal the awful truth behind the original murder case. That scene has the same intensity as the scene in "A Few Good Men" but with more restraint. The plot is well structured with a few twists. Robert Downey, Jr is a good compliment to Woods, balancing the cynicism with a boyish idealism. Margaret Colin is supportive and also balances Woods with an interesting mix of street smarts and pragmaticism."