The Truth About Charlie is a thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme and written by Jonathan Demme, Steve Schmidt, Peter Stone, and Jessica Bendinger. It was released October 16, 2002 and is an American film. It was released with a PG-13 rating(which is questionable considering that the first scene has nudity).
Let's start this out the simple way. Charles Lampert, wife to Regina Lampert, is killed on a train out of Paris. Regina is vacationing, and has decided to divorce Charles. Instead, she comes home to a barren house and police waiting for her. It appears that Charles was more than she thought, and had stolen a great deal of money while working as a mercenary for the United States. The problem is that the government and Charles's ex-comrades want the money.
Sound familiar to some of you? This movie is a loose, bad remake of the Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant classic Charade from 1963.
So, the updated qualities of the film are questionable at best. We get a shot of the side of a naked woman that Charles has slept with as soon as the opening sequence ends. There at the beginning we get the most cliche of all mystery/thriller openings: the tense, partial view of the killer, but not good enough to really know who it is.
The characterizations are lousy, and some characters total sum is only their ethnicity. We have the Chinese mercenary, the African female mercenary, and the mercenary with a heart condition. The best actor in the entire film is Tim Robbins, and he truly does not have much to work with. The characters never seem to grow, which leads us to the next problem.
The romance is unexplainable. I do not speak of the Hollywood fall-in-love as much as "I'll completely let this guy into my life though he almost seems to be stalking me." I did not feel any chemistry between these characters, but this might be due to the fact that they didn't have much character.
We also have the Blair Witch Project-like camera movements, without any of the charm of Blair Witch, causing continual headaches. The camera suddenly pans upward and we have this blur of movement. The director was probably aiming to put the audience into the film, however, I see no way that the audience could even relate to this film very well. It also contained numerous useless special effects that were like a magicians exploding powder attempting to distract the viewer from the poor quality of the film. The flashback sequences, which added practically nothing to the film, and the idea montages were just more distractions from what could've been at least a good screenplay.
Finally, we come down to the idea of what this film was trying to be. Jonathan Demme said that he was having trouble finding what he wanted for the film. Apparently this means incorporating parts from comedy, musical, suspense, thriller, and action films with no rhyme nor reason.
Probably the best part of this entire film was the music, which is not saying much. It's actually possible that I might listen to the soundtrack sometime, something that I'm very unlikely to do with the film.
The moral of the story is go watch the original film Charade. You'll enjoy yourself with that thriller-comedy, and won't feel cheated by the box office.
Stephen Dillane - Charlie
Thandie Newton - Regina Lampert
Mark Wahlberg - Joshua Peters
Christine Boisson - Commandant Dominique
Simon Abkarian - Lieutenant Dessalines
Joong-Hoon Park - Il-sang Lee
Lisa Gay Hamilton - Lola Jansco
Ted Levine - Emil Zarapec
Tim Robbins - Mr. Bartholomew
The Internet Movie Database - http://www.imdb.com