The director of Philadelphia and The Silence of the Lambs turns in his first movie since 1998's Beloved, and it leaves little to be desired for. The Truth About Charlie, a remake of 1963's Charade, is a cluttered and stupid thriller that starts off okay but goes downhill quickly.
Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible 2) stars as Regina Lambert, a British woman living in Paris who comes home to find her place stripped and her husband dead. She falls into the intrigue of a mysterious American (Mark Wahlberg), despite the fact that a group of killers are trying to get to her to find some money ($6 million). To make matters even more confusing, a government agent (Tim Robbins) has contacted her, also in search of the money. Who's to trust?
The Truth About Charlie starts off well, with an intriguing premise and some decent acting. Thandie Newton is sexy and powerful, even if she is a little too trusting at times. Mark Wahlberg is his usual entertaining self.
Unfortunately, the last two-thirds of the movie is just awful. Not only does Tim Robbins turn in the worst performance of his career (he really is that bad), Demme loses focus at about the forty-five minute mark and never recovers. As the plot twists start coming, the stupidity increases exponentially; half of the stuff doesn't make sense, and the other half is just cheesy. The plot becomes predictable, and Demme doesn't even try to hide the true motives of his characters. The direction is equally weird; in the final scene of the movie, Wahlberg and Newton look to the camera and some random guy starts singing. Yes, singing.
The Truth About Charlie starts out so well but stumbles and never gets up. The movie is confusing, but not intentionally, and many of the things the characters say and do make little sense.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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