Despite its initial failure, the film is still among the top ten most-watched films on the website.
When the legal thriller “The Whole Truth” first came out in 2016, it had a quiet VOD debut, a lacklustre theatrical run, and mixed reviews from critics.
Netflix audiences, as is so often the case, have opted to re-examine the evidence and reach a different conclusion.
“The Whole Truth,” directed by Courtney Hunt and starring Keanu Reeves and two-time Oscar winner Renée Zellweger, follows the court case of Mike Lassiter (Gabriel Basso), a young man from a wealthy family who is accused of killing his cruel father.
Mike’s trial is all but guaranteed to end in a verdict, despite a mountain of evidence stacked against him.
Things start to crumble in surprising ways when defence attorney Richard Ramsay (Reeves) dives into the specifics of the murder. What seemed to be a straightforward case quickly devolves into a whodunit, leaving Richard struggling to figure out where the truth lies.
Although the film isn’t a significant contribution to the legal thriller genre, it does have its moments. In reality, Netflix viewers who have been watching it again are possibly picking up on what many reviewers said when it first came out.
Despite the mostly negative reviews, some people disagreed with the critical consensus and declared the film to be worth seeing.
Why did some critics think The Whole Truth was worthwhile to recommend?
Many reviewers gave “The Whole Truth” a major “meh,” which explains the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score of 32 percent. Some, on the other hand, thought it was a refreshingly unglamorous and lived-in take on the genre, with good enough performances to elevate the proceedings.
Alan Scherstuhl called the film an “engaging courtroom drama” in a review for The Village Voice. The decision by Hunt and screenwriter Nicholas Kazan to “smartly strip this pulp exercise of the dramatic excess so common to courthouse thrillers” was praised.
They continued, saying, “The trial takes place in the drab, bureaucratic settings of real legal proceedings… Nobody wipes sweat from their brows, and the grind of justice is never made easier by slanting sunshine.”
“Hunt follows actual courtroom processes more closely than most comparable movies… which makes the eventual revelations sound won,” Michael Nordine of The Wrap wrote. “The more [Hunt] zooms in on specific moments, the more we’re able to step back and link seemingly unrelated pieces of evidence,” Nordine said of the use of flashbacks.
While The New York Daily News’ Dan Gunderman thought the film “falls prey to a variety of genre conventions,” they thought Reeves, Zellweger, and the rest of the cast made the material work.
‘The Whole Truth’ would simply end up a mistrial without the actors’ inscrutable facial gestures and veiled cynicism,” they wrote.
Check out “The Whole Truth,” which is currently streaming on Netflix, to make your own decision.