For Keanu Reeves, there are high-profile movies. Many, in fact. Almost too many to name these days. But for Reeves, there are also those movies that sort of fly under the radar. One such movie has just hit Netflix and if you are into courtroom thrillers, Reeves has served up a good one for you.
The Whole Truth stars Keanu Reeves as defense attorney Richard Ramsay. He is presently defending 17-year-old Mike Lassiter, who is on trial for the murder of his father, the wealthy lawyer Boone (played by Jim Belushi). But Mike has not spoken one word about the murder, making it difficult for Ramsay to mount his defense. Ramsay has made a promise to Mike’s mother and good friend Loretta (Renée Zellweger) that he will do everything in his power to get her son acquitted. Check out the trailer for The Whole Truth:
Virtually on his own, Ramsay decides to hire the young, but incredibly talented lawyer Janelle Brady (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) to help him out. She’s a go-getter, someone who can really help Ramsay. As the story progresses, it is told in series of flashbacks as to what type of man and father Boone was. Keanu Reeves calls his first witness, a flight attendant testifies she saw tension between Mike and Boone on their airplane ride home from Stanford. A flashback shows Mike wanting to go to Reed College but Boone forcing his son to attend Stanford.
More of Boone’s bad nature begins to emerge. The neighbors say Boone and Mike were really close when Mike was young but as he grew, their distance became much greater. More flashbacks reveal Boone to be a womanizer, having had many affairs. He consistently belittled Loretta in public and also in private and Loretta testified that Boone would physically and emotionally abuse her to include the day he was murdered. After the murder, Loretta tearfully testified, she says that Mike admitted to killing his father. This is where Keanu Reeves really needs to kick the legal expertise into high gear.
After refusing to talk for the longest time, Mike finally tells Ramsay that he needs to speak up. On the stand, Mike confirms his mother’s and neighbors’ stories about his father and suddenly confesses on the stand about killing his father. But, he says, it wasn’t for his mother it was because his father molested him starting at age 12 and it continued on. He says he killed his father because his father was attempting to molest him that very day. In this way, the movie plays differently than a lot of what we’ve seen from Keanu Reeves recently.
This is a courtroom thriller. Not everything is what it appears and Janelle wants to prove it. She brings another flight attendant to the stand and under Janelle’s questioning finds out that the flight attendant was covering up her extramarital affair with the co-pilot and with her spending too much time in the cockpit, she is unable to clearly state she saw any unusual interactions between Boone and Mike.
Janelle is now beginning to think there is something wrong with Mike’s story. She confronts Loretta outside the courtroom. After their conversation, Janelle begins to suspect that Mike is covering up for his mother. When she brings her thoughts to Ramsay, he basically tells her his duty is to get Mike acquitted and not to find the truth.
So, what is the truth? The jury, though they didn’t have proper evidence of abuse, acquit Mike. When Mike talks to Ramsay in a private room after the trial, Mike drops the bombshell.
The Whole Truth didn’t get much fanfare when it was released in 2016. In fact, it didn’t get a wide release when it premiered. The film was directed by Courtney Hunt, whose debut movie was Frozen River, a movie in which she both wrote and directed and was also nominated for the 2008 Best Original Screenplay Academy Award.
Critically speaking, The Whole Truth was a letdown. While twists and turns are to be expected in courtroom thrillers, critics felt that everything presented in the movie had been seen before. Even with wonderful performances by Keanu Reeves, Renée Zellweger, and Jim Belushi, it wasn’t enough to push the movie into great courtroom movies of the past.
Keanu Reeves wasn’t Hunt’s first choice to star as Richard Ramsay. Daniel Craig actually had the role as production was ready to start, but for unknown reasons dropped out of the film just days before he was to be in front of the cameras. The film was then delayed for a few weeks while producers went out to find another lead actor. This is when Reeves stepped in.
For Keanu Reeves, The Whole Truth came sandwiched in between John Wick and its sequel John Wick 2. During that time, along with The Whole Truth, Reeves made a series of movies maybe only his more rabid fans have heard of. There was Knock Knock, Exposed, The Neon Demon, The Bad Batch, and To The Bone. Seems like for every big feature film such as The Matrix, or Bill and Ted, or even John Wick, Reeves delivers just as many not so big feature films.
Thankfully, there are more big feature films coming from Keanu Reeves. He already gave fans another Bill and Ted and next up is The Matrix 4. After that, Reeves has not only the fourth John Wick movie in his crosshairs but the fifth as well.
While critics may be on to something with their conclusion of The Whole Truth being familiar, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Besides, Keanu Reeves is in it. That’s reason enough to go over to Netflix and check it out.