Release Date: March 15, 1991
Starring: John Cusack, James Spader,
Imogen Stubbs, Mandy Patinkin,
Richard Widmark, & Philip
Runtime: 112 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Herbert Ross
Producer: Laurence Mark & Herbert Ross
Writer: Kevin Wade
Address Comments To:Mr. Martin S. Davis
1 Gulf & Western Plaza
New York, NY. 10023
Peter Burton and Tim Garrity are roommates and first-year law students at the University of Virginia who become unlikely friends. Tim comes from an upper-crust family and is dating Diana Stiles, the daughter of a powerful U.S. senator, while Peter is from the wrong side of the tracks and lies to Tim about his background.
At a New Year's Eve party, Peter meets Senator Stiles and resolves to go into politics, vowing to be elected to Congress within ten years. Both Peter and Tim get accepted to intern programs in Washington, D.C., Peter as aide to Senator Stiles and Tim with the Department of Justice. Peter, however, via what he knows about another senator's marital impropriety, soon resorts to blackmail to advance himself.
Tim, on the other hand, is concerned with doing what is right and pursuing justice, a turn-off to his girl Diana who opts for a secret promiscuous relationship with Peter. As Peter climbs in power, his tactics become increasingly unethical and corrupt. He even goes so far as to set up his friend Tim at the D.O.J., when a corrupt businessman offers to fund his campaign for Congress in exchange for political favors. Tim discovers the set-up and so consents to participate in a D.O.J. sting operation in order to obtain evidence on Peter for violating campaign laws.
The story, which moves quickly and holds one's interest, is well-written. The dialogue is believable, and it is particularly rewarding to see truth and justice prevail by film's end. Unfortunately, the film does not reveal the basis for Tim's stand for justice, it presumably is out of self-interest and not concern for God's law, nor does Peter ever recognize that it's his own wrong-doing, and not his simply getting caught, that destroys him.
Still, TRUE COLORS bears out Numbers 32:23, "be sure that your sin will find you out." As Tim tells Peter, "No matter how high up you are, you're still responsible to the law." Although it is refreshing to see a film which underlines the sinfulness of man and the ability of governmental power to corrupt, extreme caution should be exercised due to several scenes of sexual promiscuity and immorality and about 70 instances of obscenity or profanity.