108 Min | Crime – Drama | September 1981
IMDB Rating: 6.4
Director: Ulu Grosbard
Starring: Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Charles Durning
True Confessions Review: One of the most underrated films of the past 25 years, “True Confessions” is worth repeated viewings. On the surface it’s a period piece about a corrupt Los Angeles where sex, money, the police, and the Catholic church all mingle. While at first glance, the film is as lurid as “L.A. Confidential,” beneath the surface it is a memorable love story, a story of two brothers, one a detective and one a ranking member of the Church hierarchy. The brothers are played by Robert Duvall and Robert DeNiro, in performances that will linger in your mind forever. The silent moments between these two brothers resound louder than the dialogue.
There’s one heartbreaking scene in a bar where their inability to communicate despite their love for one another captures all of the complexities of sibling relationships. I have no idea who won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1984, but whoever it was could not have been better than the two Roberts are here. In supporting roles Kenneth McMillan and Charles Durning also shine, one as a corrupt cop and the other as a corrupt businessman. In fact, I would have loved to see a remake of True Confessions with the two pairs of actors trading roles: DeNiro for Duvall and McMillan for Durning. That film would have been different but arguably as great.
The final scene of True Confessions is punctuated by the perfect sound track. So a great big tip of the hat to all responsible, John Gregory Dunne for the script, Ulu Grosbard for the wonderful direction that allows for those memorable silences, and, of course, a miraculous cast of fine performers working at the height of their art. Don’t miss True Confessions.