The Truth About Charlie

"Bad"

The Truth About Charlie Review


It's possible to pinpoint the exact scene where the wheels come off director Jonathan Demme's rickety, pointless remake of the 1963 Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn thriller Charade, where the whole ride comes to a screeching halt. Following an ill-timed hit-and-run accident that eliminates a crucial character, a hubcap actually rolls down the street and stops by Thandie Newton's noggin. Subliminal? I think not.

We may never know the truth about Charlie. Demme fills his European vacation with endless lies fed to us by self-serving criminals. The result circles endlessly around a thin mystery that the director punches up with inspired visual tricks, though logic would have been preferred.

Regina Lambert (Thandie Newton) returns from holiday to find her Parisian flat demolished and her husband, Charlie, murdered. Eventually, the police unveil the truth about Charlie: He worked undercover as a member of a secret government agency, the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC). A kindly stranger (Mark Wahlberg) Regina previously met in the Caribbean offers to help this damsel in distress, who now must fend off three of her husband's former cohorts seeking a fortune Charlie hid from them following a botched mission.

By placing us in Regina's shoes, Demme keeps the audience approximately two tango steps behind the action. Sexy and exotic, Newton proves she can play both spunky and vulnerable. But with spicy European locales as his backdrop, the painfully American Wahlberg comes off as bland and one-note. And Tim Robbins, playing an ODC official, attempts a bizarre foreign accent that feels more Boston than Belgium.

Through its first act, Charlie keeps us entertained with flashy P.O.V. shots and distracting, off-center camera angles. Demme just can't maintain the pace, and his bullet train grinds to a dull crawl before too long. If anything, the director begins to overload us with pointless vignettes that mesh inconsistently with assorted nonsensical plot twists and a far-fetched romance. What we could have used was a few more shots that unraveled this mess of a mystery.

Demme's visual experiments ultimately can't disguise the fact that he's working from an overly complex and ultimately illogical script. Identities get traded faster than baseball cards at summer camp, and Demme never explains how or why allegiances are formed or broken. Chunks of scenes feel like dream sequences, except no one ever wakes up. The result is a convoluted nightmare.

The truth went thataway!



The Truth About Charlie

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th October 2002

Box Office USA: $5.3M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 88

IMDB: 4.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lewis Bartholamew, as Regina Lambert, as Carson J. Dyle, as Commandant Dominique, as Lola Jansco, Park Joong-Hoon as Il-Sang Lee, as Emil Zadapec, as Charlie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.