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I don't quite know what it was that drew me to the film 'The Truth about Charlie'. On the cover of the DVD it was described as gripping and also as an engrossing saga of sex lies and espionage. I usually enjoy a good thriller so I thought that I would give it a go especially as it was directed by Jonathan Demme who also directed The Silence of the Lambs. There was also something quite intriguing about the title as well. I didn't think that the title was that inspired at first glance, but then I saw that the last three letters in the word Charlie were a different colour to the rest, and were actually the same colour as the word 'truth'. This meant that I was drawn to the two words - truth and lie - which I thought was rather clever.
There is an awful lot that happens in this film and you do have to concentrate quite a bit as you are watching. At the start, Regina Lambert (Thandie Newson) returns home to Paris after holidaying in the Caribbean to discover that her husband Charlie has been murdered and their home has been wrecked. It soon emerges that Charlie was not the person who she thought he was and in fact there might be a lot of money hidden somewhere that a lot of people might like to get their hands on. Regina soon realises that there are many strange people appearing on the scene and she is not at all sure who she can trust and not sure about who is playing games with whom. There is Joshua Peters (Mark Wahlberg) who appears to be her friend but she starts having suspicions about and also Lewis Batholomew (Tim Robbins) who is an American federal agent (or is he?) and offers her protection.
It is really the same with all the characters she meets - are they on her side or is there something a bit sinister about their actions? Regina definitely does not know who she can trust and as a consequence neither does the viewer. It is fascinating to watch because you really don't know what is happening from one moment to the next. Also, I should probably admit, that having watched the entire film I probably don't fully understand all that happened. I did, however, enjoy watching the film as it did have that 'on the edge of your seats' feel all the way through.
The acting was generally pretty good although I was not too impressed with Thandie Newson who really did not seem to deliver much emotion - although that could have been because of the nature of the character. As most of the other characters were quite sinister, I thought that this feeling was conveyed well.
It is a fast paced fast action film that will keep you engrossed to the very end. The film was made in 2002 but for a long time I was trying to work out just when it might have been set. In many ways it had an earlier seventies feel to it but as the characters did occasionally use mobile phones it must have been set much later than that. There are also some strange camera shots dotted throughout the film, but not too many as to become distracting. There is also one quite surreal scene within a Paris nightclub, which could have even been a dream but I don't think was.
I was a bit disappointed that as the film was set in Paris, you didn't get to see that much of the city and some of the more famous sights. To be honest, from what you saw, the film really could have been placed in any city. However, as it is Paris, there are occasions when there is some dialogue in French and then you need to read subtitles. There is also a pretty decent soundtrack that reflects the different moods in the film very well.
Overall this is a very watchable film although you would hardly say was a classic. Also, it is probably not the sort of film you would want to watch more than once, because a second time around, you would obviously know what was going to happen - therefore all suspense would be lost!
The film has a 12 rating and a running time of 104 minutes which is just about right. At present the DVD (with no apparent extras) is available on Amazon for £3.98.