Part Michael Clayton, part Rambo, this eco-thriller certainly has more going for it than your typical B-movie; and make no mistake, A Dark Truth is a B-movie. This is the type of film that usually goes unnoticed on the shelves of Target and Best Buy and winds up in those huge dollar bins at Wal-Mart six months after its release. Yet, A Dark Truth succeeds on many levels, even though the script is all over the place.
Andy Garcia brings gravitas to what could have been a very generic role. He’s a former CIA operative haunted by his past. He’s now married with a son (who may or may not be autistic, it’s never clearly explained), living on a nice stretch of land in the Canadian wilderness. Jack is a talk show host who takes calls from nutty listeners, but then goes off into rambling speeches that have nothing to do with the caller’s questions and everything to do with the film’s “message.”
Elsewhere, Morgan Swinton (Deborah Kara Unger) is the figurehead of a huge water conglomerate, one that has the water rights in Ecuador. She’s discovers that her company, run by her shady brother (Kim Coates), is in cahoots with an evil warlord down south. An eco-terrorist in Ecuador named Francisco Frances (Academy Award winner Forrest Whitaker) has damaging information about the company’s practices. Suddenly struck by her conscience, Morgan hires Jack to draw upon his CIA roots and go retrieve Francis.
That’s the gist. Sounds pretty straightforward. Eva Longoria appears as Francis’s wife (she’s pretty handy with a semi-automatic rifle- who knew?), Kevin Durand (Lost) plays a surveillance expert who sits around and spies on the woman, and Steven Bauer makes an appearance as a wound up American stuck in Ecuador. What makes this film interesting is the entire water rights angle. This is an issue you rarely hear about in the press, let alone a low budget movie shot in Canada. The first hour of the film plays like the type of 70s inspired thriller than George Clooney is involved with these days. Indeed, if the film had stayed on the course for its duration I would be a little more positive in this review. Alas, once Jack arrives to get Francis out of the jungle, A Dark Truth becomes just another action flick.
Making matters worse, screenwriter/director, Damian Lee, writes in a style that spells out everything in the dialog. It’s the kind of movie where the bad guy says to one of his thugs, “I want you to go to the rooftop and then I want you to kill that guy,” even though it’s pretty damn obvious why he wants the thug to go on the rooftop. Oh well, it could be worse. At least A Dark Truth has solid acting from Garcia, Whitaker, Longoria and Coates. As for Unger, man, she seems to be on a completely different plane of existence. She seems to be existing in another film altogether, one that’s directed by Cronenberg or Lynch.
Overall, the end result of A Dark Truth is a reasonable Sunday afternoon watch if you’re lacking in something to do for two hours. I can’t say that it’s completely horrible. I can’t say that it’s all that great, either.