*** Official "THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE" Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Seth Paxton, Oct 22, 2002.

  1. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    The Truth about Charlie
    7.5 of 10 SPOILER FREE
    What does that score mean overall this year on my list? It puts it with Reign of Fire or Mothman Prophecies, just above stuff like Super Troopers or Count of Monte Cristo on my list. Serviceable, perhaps at times entertaining and engaging, but this is matinee level stuff at best.
    It's been too long since I saw Charade to get into those comparisons (but it doesn't seem to compare well). Suffice to say that this film's biggest problem is that it shifts it's angle way too much. Is it thriller, is it quirky, is it Euro-moody? Well, it just can't make up it's mind, and so it's badly damaged on all fronts.
    Acting is pretty good, at times excellent, and I can't fault any casting. I do think Wahlberg has a tough time pulling off his character, though who he is by the end of the film DOES seem to fit his personality. It's just tough to believe him in earlier situations at times.
    Thandie Newton is very solid here (easily up to Hepburn comparisons), quite improved over M:I2, though that probably wasn't her fault anyway. Robbins is solid as always, but several of his scenes are just awkwardly handled. Joong-Hoon Park was very good on screen, as is Lisa Gay Hamilton (despite some of the stuff she has to work with). Unfortunately for the film, Ted Levine's character in this film might just lead you to yell out "It puts the lotion in the basket" which is exactly what my buddy turned to me and said after one scene. [​IMG] No fault on Ted, it's just how someone involved wanted to go with his character.
    Then there is that quirky angle. That is some of the most enjoyable stuff, yet at the same time it's also some of the most annoying. Mainly because it doesn't commit to those rules fully, so you are left shifting in and out of "quirky" mode. There was one scene that I was certain was not real at one point (this sort of thing is established early on), but it turns out it was. So I had to scratch my head on the really goofy actions in that scene after all. Sudden shifts in allegiances are far from satisfactorily explained, for example.
    As a spy thriller there are just way too many times that cops and spies don't do the things that they should be, thus the film feels dishonest and plays like its focused on style over substance.
    The cinematography is mostly done hand-held and that can been a bit annoying at times with so many tight shots (prepare for shaky moments). Still, I suspect at least some of that motivation is to get so many great Parisian locations on film when tracks probably would have inhibited the use of these locations.
    I will add that because of some of the quirkiness this film MIGHT be a film that grows on me. But I again stress that this is MIGHT. There was a chase on foot that ends up on some stairs that I thought was terrific and fresh as one example.
     
  2. Art Martinez

    Art Martinez Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Seth, great review. I am a big fan of the original, and this is one of my must see movies this fall.

    I was kind of surprised by the casting of Wahlberg, but he has impressed me before.

    Again thanks for the review, and thanks for making it spoiler free.
     
  3. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    What's eerie about all this is that (no joke) I made the prediction if they ever remade Charade, Thandie Newton would be the replacement for Hepburn (British accent, sexy, whatnot).
    Lo and behold we've got a remake.....with Thandie Newton no less. [​IMG]
    I'm still up in the air about whether or not I want to see it.
     
  4. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Solid review, Seth! I felt the same way about the flick, though I suspect you liked it a teeny bit more than I did.
    Odd that it would take four whole screenwriters to adapt a film that was written by one! [​IMG]
    Certainly not a bad flick, though (aside from a few colorful Demme flourishes) it's fairly dry and predictable. I suspect it will be met with more enthusiasm on DVD than it will theatrically.
     
  5. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Nice review Seth. Matinee for me maybe since your review isn't that enthusiastic.[​IMG]
     
  6. Chris_Richard

    Chris_Richard Supporting Actor

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    Nice review. It pretty much sums up my feelings for the films.

    The changing mood of the film was also my biggest problem with the film. It became very apparant with the end scene with the bad guys where the film loses all energy and grinds to a halt.

    Matinee at best.
     
  7. BarryS

    BarryS Second Unit

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    I love Charade, so I'm interested in seeing this. I'm not sure though, that Mark Wahlberg is the right actor to fill Cary Grant's shoes.
    It's good to see Jonathan Demme back in action again too.
     
  8. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I also mentioned in the 2002 film thread something I didn't mention here. Demme seems to clearly make an attempt to go with a "Third Man" look.

    Most notably a revelation scene between characters in a ferris wheel. There are also many canted angles as well. However, he doesn't go with that darker look and doesn't come close to any of the beautiful shadow work found in 3rd Man, so don't go expecting that type of film.

    Again, that's sort of my problem with it. Had it been full-on in 3rd Man's shoes then it might have been excellent (though different in tone from the original). But here is just touches on it without committing.
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "The Truth About Charlie". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
    All HTF member film reviews of "The Truth About Charlie" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Crawdaddy
     
  10. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    In a word: disappointing.
    I don't hold Charade in such high esteem that it can't be remade, but I don't think The Truth About Charlie has any of the charm the original did. Generally speaking, I like the people in it, but Seth, I have to take exception with this:
     
  11. Stacie

    Stacie Stunt Coordinator

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    Charade is one of my all-time favorites, but unlike some of the rest of you, I'm a little bit distressed at the idea of a remake. In my opinion, it's Hepburn and Grant that made the original so much fun and so memorable, and while I don't have a problem with any of the actors involved in the remake, I have a hard time seeing how this story (pretty silly, when it comes right down to it) could fly without supernova-level star power behind it.

    I'm going to wait and see on this one. I may decide to rent it -- or maybe I'll just pop in the Criterion Charade disc one more time.
     
  12. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Mark, I thought she was the only thing in the film that was consistent, which made me feel that much more disappointed that the film couldn't deliver the goods with her as a foundation.
     

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