Whistle Where You Work
After watching A Dark Truth, privatization of the world’s water supply lands on my list of horrific eco-problems to worry about. Regrettably, although the film’s message is an important one, it’s delivered in a rather clumsy way and the story failed to hold my interest throughout, which is very surprising to me. Why? Because I’m usually such a pushover for thrillers involving whistleblowers, especially if it’s a woman doing the “whistling.” Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich and Rachel Weisz in The Whistleblower come immediately to mind.
In this case, the woman in question happens to be Morgan Swinton (Deborah Kara Unger), who – along with her brother Bruce (Kim Coates) – owns a company doing water privatization in a South American village and on the verge of landing another big contract in Africa. But when something goes wrong and the company can be implicated in mass murder, a cover-up begins – much to Morgan’s dismay. She then hires Jack Begosian (Andy Garcia), an ex-CIA operative now working as a talk radio host, to find out what really happened in South America. Needless to say, Morgan’s actions do not sit well with brother Bruce and his greedy cohorts.
The rest of the movie deals with Begosian’s efforts to find Francisco Francis (Forest Whitaker), an innocent man referred to as an “eco-terrorist” -- who’s blamed for the tragedy -- and bring him to the U.S. in order to explain the horrific crimes he witnessed. Naturally, others have been hired to prevent Begosian from being successful with this dangerous assignment.
As you can probably tell, A Dark Truth boasts considerable thriller potential. That’s why I’m disappointed to feel so negative about it. There are too many slow-moving scenes and too much screen time with characters staring at each other or pausing too long before they speak. Veteran actor Steven Bauer (One in the Gun), as an American citizen trying to help the villagers, starts things out with an ultra-energetic performance during the beginning of the film, and I couldn’t help hoping that set the stage for things to come. Yes, it’s always fascinating to see Garcia (City Island) and hear his velvety smooth voice -- but he’s just too low key here. Unger (Payback), the film’s catalyst, doesn’t get enough screen time, and neither does Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body), who plays the concerned wife of Francisco Francis. Happily, Kevin Durand (Legion) livens things up a bit as a highly skilled CIA operative hired to get Begosian.
With all this in mind, I'm giving A Dark Truth an “A” for ambition and a “C” for could-have-been-better.
(Released by Magnolia Pictures and rated “R” for violence and disturbing images.)
For more information about A Dark Truth, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.