In Hollywood, the idea of truth is a very fluid term. It’s now got to the stage where movies that carry the formerly reassuring “based on a true story” or “inspired by real events” is fake news. Audiences know full-well that artistic licence trumps commitment to the fact and it really doesn’t help matters that what qualifies “based on” and “inspired by” has become increasingly tenuous.
It used to be the case that when you’re watching The Rock barbecue human hands in Pain & Gain and a message comes up reiterating that really, this definitely happened, you’d believe it. And the film-makers knew as much, just as they knew that making such claims sounds an awful lot better than “this kind of, sort of happened with another guy in a different way.” Upselling on reality is just part and parcel of making a compelling story, and the truth should never get in the way.
But what about those films that do the opposite, setting up a story that actually misses out key details that would fully improve their version of events. And though you’d think that was a rare thing, but we’ve been here before, and there are far more examples out there of writers and directors taking liberties that leave you scratching your head.
Truth is often stranger than fiction, and sometimes it’s just better, too.