DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Truth About Charlie
The Truth About Charlie
Universal // R // April 1, 2003
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 28, 2003 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:

The need for a remake of "Charade" may have been questionable, but the trailer did make it look like an awful lot of fun. The ad for "Truth About Charlie", cut together in a way that looked like a Steven Soderberg film (I would have liked to have seen what Soderberg or Luc Besson would have done here) gone international, seemed energetic and entertaining. Unfortunately, the actual movie is another story entirely.

The film stars the lovely Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible: 2) as Regina Lambert, a socialite who, as the movie opens, is on a Caribbean holiday. Upon returning home, she finds that husband Charlie (the great Stephen Dillane) has been killed on a train, and that six million in illegal funds is in her possession - although she doesn't know where. That, and that Charlie lived under several different aliases. Oh, and a band of scruffy criminals are after her.

Her only protection is Joshua Peters (Mark Wahlberg), a young man who she met briefly while on vacation, and who seems to turn up whenever she's in trouble. There's also Mr. Bartholomew (Tim Robbins), a mysterious US government agent who may or may not be there to help her. In other words, it's one of those movies where the characters change who they may or may not be so many times that those not terribly involved with the film may start to not care. In this case, director Jonathan Demme never really seems to get an idea on what kind of film the picture is - sometimes it's silly, sometimes its romantic, sometimes it's a slow-moving thriller. The film switches awkwardly between tones, making for a movie that never really gets going.

The performances could have livened up the show, but unfortunately, they're a mixed bag. Whalberg seemed like a wrong choice and is; he's been strong in roles before, but he's bland here and a little too obvious, making Newton's character look stupid for not having more of a clue. Newton, on the other hand, isn't half bad, but she seems a little too flighty. The only one who seems to have the dry sense of humor down perfectly is Tim Robbins, who has shown himself in past films to be as talented at comedy as he is at dramatic roles.

There's other problems throughout. Tak Fujimoto's cinematography generally makes Paris look attractive and occasionally pleasantly gritty. However, all of the film's cinematography is handheld, some of it steadied. Although the fairly steady work is okay, there are moments where the handheld work is irritating (this is coming from someone who is usually not bothered at all by handheld). Even worse is the occasional scene which appears to be shot in high-definition video - the mixture of digital video and film in one movie is bothersome. There's not much tension to the film, either. Director Doug Liman and cinematographer Oliver Wood succeeded in giving the sense of potential danger around every corner of "The Bourne Identity"'s international locations - "Charlie" doesn't succeed there, and that really makes it suffer further.

Overall, "Charlie" is a dissapointment, pure and simple. The movie never generates any suspense or charm, the two leads have zero chemistry and its mixtures of genres is too messy. It starts off seeming like it could go somewhere, but only gets progessively worse. A very dull remake that certainly had the potential to be something more.


The DVD

VIDEO: "The Truth About Charlie" is presented by Universal in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation generally looked terrific, although the digital video footage obviously stood out from the rest of the 35mm picture - I still don't quite understand what the need was for mixing the two formats. Sharpness and detail throughout the majority of the picture was strong; the presentation offered fine clarity and detail, with the exception of the occasional scenes.

Few major concerns showed - some minor edge enhancement appeared on occasion, as did a compression artifact or two. The print, however, generally looked quite good, with no noticable flaws. The digital video scenes looked like digital video, with a soft appearance and occasional blur during movement. Colors looked great, with rich, accurate tones and nice saturation. Black leel also remained solid.

SOUND: "The Truth About Charlie" is presented by Universal in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. The film's audio is generally pleasant enough, but the surround presence remains somewhat inconsistent. The film's score and soundtrack remained the most lively part of the audio, sounding rich and dynamic and reinforced nicely by the surrounds. The surrounds also occasionally kick in with some sound effects or ambience, but it's inconsistent. Dialogue generally seemed clear and crisp, as did the occasional sound effects.

EXTRAS: The DVD offers a commentary from director Jonathan Demme, a brief "making of", the film's well-done trailer, production notes and bios, as well as 11 1/2 minutes of deleted footage.

On the flip-side of the disc is "Charade", the original film, presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I did not watch all of "Charade", but did browse through it. The opening credits seemed rather spotty, but the other scenes that I looked through appeared very nice. Sharpness and detail were pleasing and although there were a few spots of wear here and there, the scenes that I viewed looked very crisp and clean.

Final Thoughts: I like Thandie Newton, I'd liked Jonathan Demme's work in the past and, for a little while, "The Truth About Charlie" seems like it could go somewhere. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the two leads is non-existent and the film entirely lacks suspense. While the first half suggests potential, the second half falls apart entirely. Universal's DVD offers fine audio/video quality and a solid amount of supplements. The only reason I'm recommending this - and just as a rental - is the fact that the DVD offers the original film.

Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews
1. Eastbound & Down: Season 4
2. Bob's Burgers: Season 3
3. Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXX
4. Noah
5. Heaven Is for Real
6. Rio 2
7. Orphan Black: Season 2
8. Ping Pong Summer
9. Violent Saturday: Limited Edition
10. Scanners


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use