Two bigger names which, I am sure, brought some people to this film, but each is rather wasted in legal drama, The Whole Truth, directed by Courtney Hunt (directed episodes of In Treatment and Fear the Walking Dead). One, Renee Zellweger because she is underutilized and given a rather limp or undeveloped character and two, Keanu Reeves because he is given a role which is beyond his capabilities.
Keanu Reeves is good at what he is good at. Put him in films like Speed, John Wick and The Matrix and his lack of acting acumen does not affect the film because he has less dialogue and the focus is on the action/special effects. He is perfect for those brooding, silent characters. This, a lawyer who makes a living speaking, is too much for him.
Though we cannot just blame him for this flat with tension film. A large part of the fault should be piled on director Hunt. I don’t know if it was a budget thing or just inexperience which resulted in this film having the look and quality of a bad movie of the week. Whichever the poor quality totally wrenched me out of the suspension of belief which is imperative when watching a film.
Teenager Mike Lester (Gabriel Basso – from television’s The Big C) is found over his dead father. His handprint is on the knife which has been plunged into Boone Lester’s (Jim Belushi – Trading Places, Wag the Dog) chest. Plus Mike confesses to the murder then becomes mute, not speaking to anyone anymore. It seems like an open and shut case, but his mother Loretta (Renee Zellweger – Judy, Cold Mountain) hires family friend and lawyer Richard Ramsey (Keanu Reeves) to defend her son.
Hands tied because of the confession, evidence and the fact that his client won’t speak to him, Ramsey forges on, even taking on young second chair Janelle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Concussion, A Wrinkle in Time), as her father was a big time lawyer.
As the trial goes on different things emerge. That the Lesters were not the perfect family behind the scenes, that Boone was abusive towards his wife and that there is more to this case than first seemed.