Truth (2013) **
D: Rob Moretti
C: Sean Paul Lockhart, Rob Moretti, Suzanne Didonna, Blanche Baker, Rebekah Aramini, Max Rhyser
Plot Synopsis: After a chance encounter over the Internet, Caleb, who suffers from borderline personality disorder, meets and falls head over heels for Jeremy, and soon the line between love and lies blur. Struggling to keep his past a secret, including his mentally ill mother, Caleb slowly succumbs to his darker side. A sudden turn of events finds Jeremy held captive, with Caleb determined to find/reveal the truth.
Review: Almost from the get go, Truth sabotages itself. The film opens up with Sean Paul Lockhart, locked up in prison, recounting a relationship that went astray. You & I both know that this relationship is going to end in some form of violence. All that's left is for viewers to watch as the film goes through the paces.
Sean Paul Lockhart, who plays Caleb, is supposed to be a loner with no confidence in himself. However, the clothing that his character wears is completely contradictory to the point that it's even distracting. Sean is supposed to be play a person who is humble, that doesn't see what his boyfriend sees in him. Yet, here he is, wearing boldly colored Andrew Christian underwear in one scene or a stylishly ripped burgundy colored sweater in another. For a character that lacks confidence, I doubt he would dress in such an extroverted way. To Sean Paul Lockhart's credit, he has a nice, sincere on screen quality. Even when the film trips up, which is often (and I'm about to get into detail about that), Lockhart's performance at least kept me engaged to see this out.
One of the chief problems is that Truth doesn't know when to exercise restraint. For example, in one scene, Caleb meets his mother, who is now in a mental institution. She rejects him on the basis that he's gay. The film has made it's point on why Caleb feels insecure in his relationships with other people, but instead of ending the scene there, the scene goes on to show Caleb's mom talk about how her vagina & ass were destroyed by giving birth to him. Less is more.
Or, in another scene, Caleb masturbates his boyfriend in an aggressive manner during a moment of anger. The facial reactions & body language of the two actors conveys the intensity of the situation, but then the film feels the need to show us that Caleb's boyfriend has ejaculated all over his chest. Details like this took me out of what was going on in the film and took it to some place that was unintentionally funny.
In another instance, Lockhart's character walks to the bathroom after having a romantic tryst. Lockhart is shown fully nude. I'm not against nudity or even violence as long as it serves some legitimate purpose, but the nudity of this scene is just a cheap shot to throw in a little extra skin. When it comes to dealing with a scene that deals with romance, it's about the emotions that the characters feel in that instance, not how many times you can show them naked. The film gets so caught up in gratuitous details, that the characters and the emotions that they feel get short changed as a result.
However, the film's biggest sin comes during the finale. It's during this time, that the love affair between Caleb and his boyfriend turns violent. There's a lot of angst, some torture, some manipulations and a confrontation that ends with both violence and tears. It's here that the film refuses to answer itself.
How did this relationship and the violence that ensured not only affect Caleb, but his boyfriend in the long term? What effect did it have on their lives? Or for that matter, why did Caleb turn to violence to begin with? Sure, he's mentally unbalanced, but he's never been violent towards other people. Why did he think that violence was the answer? For a film boldly entitled Truth, the film has a habit of going for easy answers and dodging the big questions. [Not Rated] 94 mins.
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