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Christian Longo Movie 8: Murder Mystery -My Review Chapter 8
True Story: A Story Of Lies
Two men fallen from grace find a peculiar kinship in murder
I see very few films. But I had to make sure I saw this one before it blew out of my town. I had to see how much more this film had to add to the saga of Christian Longo. In addition, I did more research online in the attempt to bring this story up to date. I will deal with some of that in this chapter, however I am sure that the remainder of this story along with my story are going to take more than just one chapter.
Of course the film centers around the symbiotic relationship between these two men: The one, a writer fallen from grace for telling a lie and the other a liar impersonating the one fallen from grace. I like Michael Finkel's opening line when he meets Christian Longo, "I thought maybe you could tell me what it's like to be me?"
Longo had actually read the writings of Finkel in earlier years
One of Longo's earlier ventures back in Michigan was a NY Times newspaper distributorship. One of a number of businesses that could have taken him far. During this time he became a fan of Finkel's writing exploits as Finkel traveled the world while writing stories that won covers. Longo had quite the wanderlust so it is not inconceivable. Could Longo have possibly known that he was going to embark on a twisted path that would culminate in him meeting this writer?
This film was panned by some critics. They felt the storyline was a bit soapy what with the writer seemingly falling under the spell of this horrific murderer. Of course I am okay with this because I know just how it happened. I saw the same thing transpire with my contact, Sheena. So, I know how he operates. There was a time when I was about to sit in front of him but it didn't happen and therein lies some of my story. Indeed it was because of his spell that we never met - and I will get into that.
I will say that my story is nothing like Michael Finkel's. If you have read my account up until now you will know that I have taken some liberties as concerns the manner of death of Longo's family.
Long suffering Mary Jane deserved so much more than what she got
In preceding chapters, I attempted to give Mary Jane Longo a voice as much as I could. A movie like this cannot do the victims justice. Mary Jane was gradually cut off from her family, religion and all that meant everything to her as Longo pulled the little family further and further from their homeland. She went along because she was under his spell. Only those who have been there can understand how that is. Narcissism is a nasty thing. What she endured right to the end might go beyond evil.
There is another story to be toldClick thumbnail to view full-size
The main mission of Finkel however is the same as mine. We want to know more about the how and why of the murders. He chose to get after the truth through conversation with Longo. I chose to attempt to go into his head from afar. All I can say is that the truth remains elusive.
I often wonder how I would have handled him. I was pretty confident back then. But considering the twists and turns my life has taken since then... It is hard for me to say.
This is a dark movie of course with a brooding score which is certainly fitting of the subject matter. The movie attempts to show us the pain one experiences who gets too close to a Narcissist such as this. But it truly is one of those things one has to experience oneself in order to achieve full understanding. All the same, the movie has won awards at Sundance.
Though Finkel suffered greatly as part of this Narcissistic Dyad, there was the ironic twist that always occurs in a relationship like this. However this one would work out to his advantage I would have to say.
A Murder Mystery That Confounded A Town
One of the opening lines that caught my attention was when Longo asks Finkel, "I want you to teach me to write." Not long after that, I would come onto the scene and be reading Longo's writing. We will see how well he learned. An interesting side note is that in later years, Longo would go on to be published from prison. Even in the NY Times!
There was the call he receives one afternoon from Harper-Collins informing him that he will be receiving a $250,000 advance for his book. Of course now we know that a movie came along in addition to that. So Finkel profited handsomely from his suffering with Longo.
I came along just after Finkel. of course I was working on my book and I imagined myself in that scene. Alas, I cannot imagine receiving a call like that. Such is life.
There is one scene where Finkel's girlfriend is giving him a reassuring kiss as he heads off on his trip to Newport to go through Longo's trial and have his final scene with him.
I was remembering myself heading down to Newport to investigate sometime after that occurred. There was no reassuring kiss for me and I would be in for some dark times of my own in Newport. I would be down there chasing after the ghosts of what once was.
Michael Finkel delivers this line to end the story, "You will never, ever escape what you are. Quite frankly you are a mystery to me and God willing you will remain so."
So, even though the two of them had made a pact to never lie to one another, Finkel understands that he was played for a patsy all throughout. And he has continued to be played for a fool. as this story did not end with the ending of this movie. More has transpired since then.
In conclusion I will add that it was a bit eerie for me watching this movie. The evening I went to see it, I was the only person sitting in the theater. I sat at the very top in the very middle and had the whole production to myself. As I watched the movie it dredged up a lot of old memories and experiences. It turned out to be yet another strange chapter in this never ending saga of Christian Longo.
Longo Letters: I will introduce these in the next Chapter
What is it like to be Longo, convicted of seven death sentences and beginning a new Chapter of his adventurous life on Death Row at the Oregon State Penitentiary? I will provide you a window into the life of a convict straight from the horse's mouth - his writings.
We will delve further into my story as I followed his twisted path as best as I could. I will continue to update on the many unusual turns this story has taken since the time of this movie. Follow along. Leave a comment.
Longo Letters: I will provide a summaryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Did You Watch The Movie?
Did you believe Longo's final admission?
© 2015 Chuck Fasst