ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  jonathan demme

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  romantic suspense

LENGTH  -  113 minutes

RELEASED  -  25 october 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  universal pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the truth about charlie

the truth about charlie - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the truth about charlie at

buy the dvd from the truth about charlie at

remake of 1963 classic thriller "charade" starring cary grant and audrey hepburn.

will smith was once considered for mark wahlberg's role.


picture from the truth about charlie

picture from the truth about charlie

picture from the truth about charlie


two out of four possible stars

Espionage has long been seen as a risqué profession, filled with intrigue, good-looking spies, and lots of good old-fashioned sexual tension. But The Truth About Charlie is missing some of the wry humor and chemistry between its actors that it needs to become a really engrossing film. The movie is so much about getting to the bottom of the mystery the dead "Charlie" left for his friends, enemies, and wife, that there is really no time to investigate the relationships between the living members of the cast. Although the point of the film is all but spelled out in the title, the race to the finish line doesn't include a lot of time spent on the feelings of the main characters.

For example, it's really a hit-or-miss situation as to whether Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton are convincing as a couple thrust into a dangerous situation that have an eye on one another. Although they both play their parts well, together there aren't always enough sparks coming from their relationship. Or lack of it. This film could have benefited from a roll in the sack or two. While the film begins on a sensuous note, that feeling doesn't carry throughout the film, and though the adventure quotient remains high, the relationships in the film are usually too staid.

The supporting characters in the film are also a strange lot as well. While the actors perform well in their respective roles, there's almost the sense that a person closed his or her eyes and pointed to a sheet of paper with a bunch of actors' names on it to pick the actors for their roles. First off, Tim Robbins has a strange tilt to his accent which might cause the viewer to think he's English during the first few sentences out of his mouth, but his strange pronunciation of words sometimes gets in the way of what he's actually trying to say.

The plot of the film is passable entertainment, but it won't keep many viewers guessing until the very end. All the mysterious characters she meets confuse Thandie Newton, and the audience is supposed to be too. When her husband of three months is found murdered on a set of train tracks, the police questions her character, “Regina,” and it is hinted at that she is on their list of suspects. In her quest to find the truth, she meets Mark Wahlberg's character, "Joshua," who charms her right off the bat, but seems like a suspicious character later on in the film.

Christine Boisson, playing the French Commandant constantly getting in Thandie's way is a strong character and Boisson gives a good performance as the dedicated policewoman. The same can be said for Lisa Gay Hamilton, Joong-Hoon Park, and Ted Levine, who also plague Thandie's character with their presence. There are a host of characters in this film who all want their share of a couple million dollars worth of diamonds, and everyone is convinced Regina has the stolen property, or knows where they can be found. So with all these characters' involvement begins a film with more than its share of miss-directions and twists designed to keep the audience guessing.

It's a safe bet that anyone paying close attention to the film will guess the ending before it arrives, but that failing might not have mattered if the characters were able to take up the slack. But Newton and Wahlberg just don't inhabit their roles well enough. Although they are both capable in front of the camera, neither one seems very comfortable as those characters. Well dressed or not, Newton just can't hold the pole position without being eclipsed sometimes by her co-stars. And Wahlberg isn't sincere enough in his debonair role. And the fact that the camera shakes so badly during so many scenes doesn't give the audience a lot of time to admire their faces.

In fact, regardless of how good or bad (and they were mostly good) the performances were, the camera operator should have steadied his arm somewhat for a few minutes of screen time. The rolling and frolicking of the camera hides the beauty and destruction of Paris and it is hard to just sit back and watch this film. The twists and shakes and slides and jerks that the camera is involved in take one's attention away from the meat of the film: the actors.

But considering that the actors do not light up the screen as much as they should, and the story doesn't keep its viewers questioning enough, this film stumbles more than it is successful. Perhaps what is most ironic about this film is the way it throws caution to the wind during its last sixty seconds or so and puts a good dose of comedy and fantasy into the story. Right as the credits start to roll, characters start doing strange things like stare directly into the camera, and people heard on radios start to appear in the frame. If the entire film resembled the last few minutes, the infusion of comedy would have really perked up this slightly entertaining film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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