It seems blasphemous to remake Stanley Donen's classic romantic thriller Charade
, but The Truth About Charlie
achieves its own unique identity. Rather than mimic the inimitable chemistry of the original, director Jonathan Demme takes a vividly contemporary approach, with Mark Wahlberg
and Thandie Newton
well cast in roles originated by Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The plot's essentially the same, kicking into high gear when Newton--the unwitting courier of a priceless treasure--is chased around Paris by her murdered husband's military cohorts, an avuncular embassy official (Tim Robbins), and a suave stranger (Wahlberg) whose true identity remains elusive. In a film filled with twists and turns, Demme fails to find a consistent tone of humor, romance, and danger. But he's crafted a peculiar Parisian valentine, seasoned with Gallic cameos (singer Charles Aznavour, Anna Karina, director Agnès Varda) and vibrantly alive with music, style, and forward momentum. Charade
it's not, but that's not necessarily a complaint. --Jeff Shannon
Jonathan Demme's The Truth About Charlie
is a swirling romantic suspense thriller, a remake of the 1963 Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn vehicle, Charade
. Set in Paris, the film stars Thandie Newton as a British ex-pat whose art dealer husband is murdered while she's on vacation. Arriving home, she is met with an empty apartment, the French police, and an array of mysterious thugs who believe she knows where her husband stashed six million stolen dollars. Mark Wahlberg plays the handsome, beret-sporting stranger who comes to her rescue, but who may not be what he seems. Special mention goes to Tim Robbins as a shadowy American agent, and Christine Boisson as the cool-as-nails police commandant trying to get to the bottom of the matter.
Demme's direction pulls out all the stops here, with dizzying camerawork, experimental flash-forwards and insane editing. It's a return to the Oscar-winner's pre-Silence of the Lambs
days, when his specialty were cameo-studded, pop-infused romantic comedy thrillers like Married to the Mob
and Something Wild
. This time the cameos celebrate the 1960's French New Wave cinema with appearances by crooner Charles Aznavour, director Agnes Varda, and--singing a mad tango--ex-Godard icon Anna Karina.
Demme/Wahlberg/Robbins ~ Truth About Charlie