The Truth About Charlie
2 out of 5 stars
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The 1963 Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn classic Charade certainly wasn't crying out to be remade, yet that's exactly what Demme has done, for some reason. Sure, the story is twisty and dense and enjoyably convoluted. But without the Grant-Hepburn spark it's a fairly typical thriller. Regina (Newton) arrives home to Paris from holiday to discover that her flat has been emptied and her husband Charlie (Dillane) is dead. And something is very fishy! As she starts digging into the truth, she meets a helpful Yank named Joshua (Wahlberg) who she increasingly suspects of some involvement in things. Especially when an American diplomat (Robbins) warns her to be careful, and three mysterious people (Levine, Hamilton and Park) seem to follow her everywhere.

Demme's stylish flurries and the no-one-is-who-they-seem-to-be plot keep us interested, even tough the film has a lifeless and rather flat tone to it, mostly because Wahlberg and Newton have so little chemistry. Newton does well channeling the spirit of Hepburn, right down to the costumes and camera angles; but Wahlberg never remotely approaches Grant's charm or mystery. He's just a very helpful, beefy hunk who's perhaps up to something. Meanwhile, Robbins is just too weird for words, with oddly stilted dialog and a manner that assures up that he's definitely up to something. But despite the whizzy images and the knotted plot, the film lacks the spark and pacing needed to drive the story. And a couple of bizarre Charles Aznavour cameos certainly don't help! Eventually all the red herrings overwhelm the plot, leaving too little substance to hold on to and leading to a climax that can't be anything other than anti-climactic. Watchable but deeply unnecessary.

cert 12 themes, violence, innuendo 12.May.03

dir Jonathan Demme
scr Jonathan Demme, Steve Schmidt, Peter Joshua, Jessica Bendinger
with Mark Wahlberg, Thandie Newton, Tim Robbins, Christine Boisson, Stephen Dillane, Ted Levine, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Joong-Hoon Park, Simon Abkarian, Frederique Meininger, Agnes Varda, Charles Aznavour
release US 25.Oct.02; UK 16.May.03
Universal
02/US 1h44

They'll always have Paris. Joshua woos Regina as things begin to get very suspicious (Wahlberg and Newton)...

wahlberg newton robbins
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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