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The Truth About Charlie (2002)

A remake of the 1963 film Charade starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Starring:

Christine Boisson

Mark Wahlberg

Thandie Newton

Tim Robbins

Directed by:

Jonathan Demme

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

A young woman returns home from a holiday to find her house ransacked, her husband Charlie missing, and their money gone. The police inform her that he is dead, and return his property to her- one bag and it's contents. A man (Mark Wahlberg) that she met on holiday protects her from a group of people who claim that her husband's money is rightfully theirs, and believe that she is hiding it. She sets about, with the help of a police woman, and a supposed government officer (Tim Robbins), to work out what happened to her husband's money. All the clues she has is the contents of his bag.

When Regina Lambert (Thandie Newton) hears of her husband's death, and their missing fortune, she sets out to find 'the truth about Charlie' in Paris, by following the steps of his last day taken from his diary. Unsure of who she can trust, she lives in danger. Determined that some clue must exist in his belongings she carries his bag everywhere with her but fails to make anything from it's apparently normal contents. Eventually, when desperate to understand what happened, she joins forces with those who are following her believing she has his money. One night, however, alone she trys again herself, and finds that the answer was there all along. She contacts the policewoman Commandant Dominique who has been helping her throughout (Christine Boisson), and together they come up with a plan to fool the others, who aren't all who they say they are!

Throughout the film, as well as having to deal people following her; Regina has Charlie's mystery mother who wants revenge to deal with. She blames Regina for his death; if you leave the cinema before the end of the initial credit sequence you will miss perhaps the only humourous scene of the film, showing the mother enact her revenge on her son's killer.

Any bits of this film which seem unusual or confusing (and believe me there are many) all fit together perfectly at the end; and they will leave you annoyed that you did not spot the clues, for weeks. The audience is no more privileged to information than the characters are, and so we must all hard work to find the answers.

There are many surreal elements in this film such as a woman who appears twice in a black veil either smiling or frowning at both principal emotional points in the film; and also a singing governmental secretary among others- ignore them!

The best performance comes from an unlikely source- Christine Boisson (Commandant Dominique)- who gives a brilliantly dramatic, natural, and suitably understated performance that shines much brighter than her Hollywood Co-Stars.

This film is definitely a must see; but make sure you concentrate on what is infront of you if you want to get to the answer before those on screen!

It's Got: Many moments to keep you on the edge of your seat.

It Needs: The removal of the surrealist elements- they do nothing for the film.

Alternatives:

Charade, The Bourne Identity.

Summary

A film that shows the clues to a mystery are right in front of you; and the right answers the simplest ones.

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