Actually, the truth about The Truth About Charlie is that it doesn’t know what it’s trying to be. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the film tries to harken back to a time where he directed such comedies as Married to the Mob and Something Wild. Of course, since that time he’s been better known for his work on dramas like The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia. So while The Truth About Charlie strives to be a black comedy, it fails in that respect. As Zach put it, it’s as though they threw everything on the screen to see what would stick, and nothing stuck.
The film is a remake of the 1963 Cary Grant film, Charade. While I haven’t seen it, I’m sure that it succeeds in almost every place that Charlie does not. Here the acting is a little hammy, with Mark Wahlberg mumbling through his part and pixie-like Thandie Newton staring doe-eyed into the camera. (Yes, Demme and cinematographer Tak Fujimoto employed the same “first person perspective” staring-into-the-camera-during-a-conversation approach from Silence of the Lambs. And another thing – the camera rarely sat still. There are more high-energy handheld shots than anyone ever needed, and I’m glad I had a light dinner beforehand – otherwise I would have gotten seasick.
Rachel Portman‘s score was a refreshing return to her off-kilter comedic style (like Benny & Joon), and I hope that there is a sizeable amount of music on the soundtrack album. (I know there are plenty of songs, many of which worked well in the film, but we’ll see.) So should you see The Truth About Charlie? No, I can’t really recommend it. Go see The Ring instead. (Am I pushing that film or what?)