Los Angeles Times - 03/15/1991
"...Cusack is developing into an extraordinary actor....TRUE COLORS should be seen for Cusack..."
This riveting portrait of political society and scandal in highbrow Washington, DC, stars James Spader as Tim Garrity, a socially responsible young man from the upper-middle classes who is engaged to the daughter of the influential and powerful Senator Stiles (Richard Widmark); and John Cusack as Peter Burton, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks with ambition to burn. Both are enrolled at the University of Virginia Law School in 1983. They become roommates and friends quite by accident, and differences in their individual pursuits in politics drive them apart. Taking the Reagan-era credo of greed to heart, Burton ruthlessly claws his way up the political ladder in his effort to get elected to Congress. In the process, he betrays Garrity by stealing his fiancée (Imogen Stubbs) and then becomes involved in shady dealings with a corrupt businessman (Mandy Patinkin). Garrity, principled but passive, stands by while Burton chews up and spits out everyone and everything in his path--until Burton turns on Senator Stiles, forcing Garrity to finally take action against his friend.
Tim Garrity (James Spader) and Peter Burton (John Cusack) are law school roommates who become close friends despite their differing backgrounds and differing opinions on politics and ethics. While Tim is concerned with social responsibility, Peter is consumed with self-interest. Peter's pursuit of power and glory in the political arena leads him straight to the top and into the arms of Tim's former fiancée (Imogen Stubbs), the daughter of an influential senator. Tim is an upper-crust socialite with a conscience who sets his sights on the Department of Justice. The two remain best friends until their professional worlds collide and they are forced to betray one another.
Filmed entirely on location at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville and in Richmond, Virginia; Washington, DC; Annapolis, Maryland; and Big Sky, Montana.
Additional music credits: Bruckner's "Symphony No. 7 in E Major" preformed by Staatskapelle Dresden, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt; Lawrence Ashmore, music advisor; "News Logo Music" by Gary Anderson; "The Twelve Days of Christmas" arranged by Bob Bornstein.
"We may not always get what we want, we may not get what we need, just so's long as we don't get what we deserve."--Tim and Peter's motto
"You may even win an election or two, you may even be able to live with yourself, but God help you when the people find out; they always do."--Senator Stiles (Richard Widmark) to Peter (John Cusack)
"You know the old saying in Washington: There are only two things that can ruin your career, getting caught with a live boy or a dead girl."--Peter to Tim