True Colors (1991) starring John Cusack, James Spader, Imogen Stubbs, Mandy Patinkin, Richard Widmark, Dina Merrill, Philip Bosco, Paul Guilfoyle directed by Herbert Ross Movie Review

True Colors (1991)   3/53/53/53/53/5

John Cusack in True Colors (1991)

What Ever the Cost

"True Colors" is written by Kevin Wade who prior to this wrote "Working Girl" and both have a similarity as they focus on career driven people. But "True Colors" whilst being in the world of politics is by no means a heavy movie unlike many other political dramas because in truth the focus is purely on the drive of one man to succeed at what ever the cost. In many ways this is a typical theme of the 80s and 90s with other movies such as "The Firm" and "Wall Street" coming to mind but it is none the less interesting or entertaining.

Peter Burton (John Cusack - Say Anything...) is a driven young man, coming from a working class background he is desperate to escape his past and make it no matter at what cost. On the first day of law school he meets Tim Gerrity (James Spader - White Palace) who represents everything what Peter wants except Tim is by no means as driven for success as he is. Despite this they become close friends as both push on in their careers but Peter's drive and win at all costs forces Tim to constantly bend his morals.

James Spader in True Colors (1991)

So as I said "True Colors" is in truth a simple movie all about one man's drive to succeed no matter the cost and how that affects his friendship with Tim. We see how Tim constantly finds him at odds with the way Peter works, the deceptive way of manipulating others, bending the rules and the gift he has for talking people in to doing what he wants. It leads to conflicts especially when it comes to women especially Diane, the Senator's daughter who was dating Tim till she decided his drive and career plans were not up to her own ambitions and ended up with Peter. This all evolves over a few years as Peter's drive and manipulations become uncontrolled.

Now I absolutely love "True Colors" it has that same sort of go getting energy as those other movies I mentioned earlier but it also has some surprises. Take the casting of John Cusack who let's be honest is great as a nice guy but his surprising turn as a driven career seeker is attention grabbing as he is completely believable. Every time he opens his mouth you believe that everything he says and everything he does is calculated and all about getting what he wants even if he has to screw over a friend in the process. Cusack works well with Spader who is just as good as Tim but in a role that was certainly not out of his comfort zone. But then there is the supporting performance from Richard Widmark, toned down from the one time leading actor but fascinating for being so believable as a politician and everything he says you believe because he sounds like an educated man.

The only trouble that "True Colors" has is that it is bathed in 90s style from the sweet sax soundtrack to the look. But also despite the exciting story it lacks the dynamics of modern cinema about go getters. In many ways I hate to say this because whilst I love "True Colors" this is one movie which could be remade with the likes of Sorkin doing the rewrite and Fincher the directing.

What this all boils down to is that "True Colors" is still a very good movie which does a great job of telling the story of a driven young man. But unfortunately it is a movie which is now dated not just in look but also in directional style.