A Dark Truth: Film Review

A solid cast is wasted in this heavy-handed, cliché-ridden thriller.

South American rebels battle evil military and corporate forces in this environmental-themed thriller.

Interweaving clumsily staged action sequences with endless pontificating about evil mega-corporations privatizing public resources, the mediocre environmental-themed thriller A Dark Truth wears its good intentions on its sleeve. While its cautionary themes are what no doubt attracted a solid cast of actors including Andy Garcia, Forest Whitaker and Eva Longoria, the film will have much more trouble attracting audiences.

Garcia plays Jack Begoisan, a former CIA operative turned talk radio host who delivers lengthy moralizing monologues on his show “The Truth.” Eager to make up for unspecified past sins, he’s persuaded to travel to Ecuador, where a recent massacre of villagers by military forces was spurred by the evil head of a Canadian water-filtration company (Kim Coates) in order to cover up a disease outbreak caused by their shoddy practices.

There he allies himself with revolutionary leader Francis (Whitaker) and his wife Mia (Longoria), who are hiding out in the jungle while attempting to organize rebel forces. Much violence ensues, which eventually spills over into the urban streets of Toronto when an Ecuadoran refugee shoots himself in front of a water company bigwig (Deborah Kara Unger) in order to put a spotlight on their malfeasance.

Director Damian Lee’s leaden screenplay rarely comes to dramatic life, with even this assemblage of impressive thespians unable to overcome the ponderous dialogue. Such moments as when the guilt-plagued Unger submerges herself in a bathtub fully clothed in an attempt to wash away her sins prove far more laughable than galvanizing, and the endless scenes of soulless corporate execs planning their evil deeds are straight out of Conspiracy Thriller 101.

Garcia and Whitaker invest their characterizations with their customary gravitas, and Longoria-- whose eagerness to shed her glamorous Desperate Housewives persona was already apparent in last year’s For Greater Glory—impressively matches their earnestness. But their hard-working efforts are unable to rescue A Dark Truth—even the title is heavy-handed—from its morass of clichés.