Thursday, January 03, 2013

A Dark Truth: Andy Garcia Knows It’s Out There

Jack Begosian went from cover-ups to bottom-feeding.  The former CIA agent now hosts a conspiracy theory driven radio program in Toronto.  He claims the new gig eases his conscience.  However, he will have the opportunity to atone for past sins with more direct action in Damian Lee’s A Dark Truth (trailer here), which opens in Miami this Friday.

To be fair, Begosian is not trafficking in space alien rumors, but he gets plenty of those calls on his late night talk show.  Although his backstory is never fully spelled out, Begosian left the Agency under scandalous circumstances.  A Congressional hearing was involved.  Trying to live quietly with his frustrated wife and emotionally withdrawn son, Begosian is not looking for freelance gigs.  Nevertheless, one comes his way.

Heiress Morgan Swinton suspects Clearbec, her family’s industrial water filtration company, is up to no good in Ecuador.  She needs an independent hardnose to go down there and check things out.  For Begosian, it represents karma coming full circle.  According to reports, environmental activist Francisco Francis has incriminating evidence on Clearbec.  That would be the same Francis who served time in a rather unpleasant Latin American prison thanks to Begosian’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering.  Now his assignment is to get Francis and his wife safely out of the country and into a courtroom, despite the efforts of the Ecuadoran military and Clearbec’s enforcers.

Dark Truth largely recycles Hollywood’s standard issue corporate villainy plot, but Lee’s screenplay is less morally simplistic, portraying the culpable Swinton brother in relatively sympathetic terms.  Yet, it is Andy Garcia who truly dominates the film as Begosian.  He still has plenty of credibility in the adequately staged action scenes and brings the appropriate gravitas for Begosian’s “that’s the way it is” radio pronouncements.

Garcia is still one bad cat and so is Kevin Durand, who is coolly hardboiled as the unpredictable hitman, Torrance “Tor” Mashinter.  Unfortunately, Forest Whitaker and Eva Longoria do not fare so well as the Francises, awkwardly trying to look noble as the scramble through the jungle.  In contrast, Kim Coates makes an intriguingly human villain, nicely conveying Bruce Swinton’s guilt and desperation.

Lee, whose credits including producing Death Wish V, is not exactly a distinctive visual stylist, but if you’re filming a difficult scene in the Dominican rain forest, he can probably be relied on to get it in the can quickly.  He also delivers some pretty good work from his cast, most notably Garcia, Durand, and Coates.  An okay diversion on a commercial flight or as a VOD time killer, A Dark Truth is really just recommended for Garcia’s biggest fans.  Conveniently, it begins its theatrical run at the O Cinema in Miami (where a fair number of them probably are) this Friday (1/4), expanding to Lake Worth the following week.  For New Yorkers, it is already available on-demand.