A Dark Truth (2012) – Review

2 Stars

A Dark Truth begins in the village city of Tayca, Ecuador as the army tracks and slaughters a group of sick, defenseless peasants. Then the story shifts to Toronto, Canada and we are introduced to late night radio talk show host, Jack Begosian (Andy Garcia). This political pundit isn’t only a world-weary conspiracy theorist, but a former CIA agent with knowledge of covert operations and scandals the globe-over. If the over-stuffed plot wasn’t carrying a big enough load, the writers throw in another plot strand that involves the privileged daughter and heiress to the ClearBec fortune, a company responsible for a typhus outbreak in Ecuador.

Militant revolutionary Francisco Frances (Forest Whitaker) has become quite a pain for the ClearBec company, brazenly stepping forth and organizing a peasant uprising over the privatization of water, land rights and industrial pollution. He along with his spouse Mia (Ea Longoria) attempt to flee the wrath of the murder minded Ecuadorian soldiers. Frances is falsely labeled an Eco terrorist and Begosian is hired by the heiress to travel to Ecuador, find him and the other survivors of the attack on Tayca, and bring them home to expose the truth to the public.

This is obviously not in the best interest of ClearBec, particularly when the deal to control the water filtration system in South America isn’t in stone. The board is growing impatient and the rumors of trouble in Ecuador have sent financial speculators in a tizzy. Backroom decisions are made that could endanger the lives of many people, specifically Begosian, Frances and the whistleblower inside ClearBec.

Writer/Director Damian Lee is a Peruvian born filmmaker with a long list of B-movies to his credit. A Dark Truth didn’t receive a nation-wide theatrical release and it has its share of narrative problems, but to saddle the film with the unsavory moniker of B-movie wouldn’t be fair or accurate. Lee has overly complicated his story with too many characters and unclear motive for many of his main characters actions. Yet the acting from OSCAR winners Whitaker and Garcia, and the always welcomed sight of the beautiful Longoria make the mediocre flick tolerable.

I can’t recommend A Dark Truth based on its shaky first hour which doesn’t really gel until about the 50 minute mark, from there on the film turns into a fairly standard action vehicle. That’s ok though, this plays into Lee’s strong-suit as a director. Surprisingly the violence isn’t cartoon and the effect of each life taken is given emotional weight. There are some nice artistic touches sprinkled throughout, as if Lee were inspired by Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio and Shoot to Kill, when the financial backers wanted something Steven Seagal-esque to sell to foreign markets. A near miss in terms of theatrical standards but a huge step in the right direction for director Damien Lee.

Director: Damian Lee,
Stars: Andy Garcia, Deborah Kara Unger, Forest Whitaker

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