Monday, April 07, 2014
"A Dark Truth": A former CIA operative turned to "Talk Radio" helps a corporate whistleblower
“A Dark Truth” is an interesting “eco thriller” with plenty of political overtones, filmed in Toronto, around the mines in Sudbury, ON, and in the Dominican Republic (substituting for Ecuador) by Damien Lee, released by Magnolia Pictures in the US in early 2013.
The film has an alternate title, “The Truth” (call it “The Eternal Feminine” if you want), the name of a Toronto radio talk show host Jack Begosian (Andy Garcia) who feels that hosting the left-wing forum is his penance for working for years as a CIA operative defending right wing corporate interests overseas.
It’s appropriate to mention immediately another film as comparison, Oliver Stone’s “Talk Radio” (Universal) based on a play by Eric Bogosian, which I remember seeing in NW Washington in late 1988, after moving back to DC from Dallas, where that film is situated. What goes around comes around. (I named an essay in the newsletter “The Quill” in the 1990s after this particular film.)
“A Dark Truth” opens with a complicated chase sequence outside a town in Ecuador where dozens of peasants have died of typhus, and where an activist Francisco Francis (Forrest Whitaker) has stolen files that would implicate a big Canadian water technology company Clearbac. The company CEO Bruce Swinton (Kim Coates) maneuvers to cover up the scandal from South African investors, while his sister Morgan (a major shareholder and director played by Deborah Kara Unger) learns about the scandal when a post-teenager involved in the raid (Devon Bostick) shoots himself in front of her at a public rally. Out of conscience, Morgan hires Jack to go down to Ecuador to expose the scandal and rescue Francisco, whom Jack had helped put into prison for “eco-terrorism”.
There is a touching scene where Jack and Francisco finally hook up at the end. Francisco had written a best-selling book, whose proceeds are to go to poor people needing water projects all over the world.
There’s also an unbelievable shootout in Toronto, and a suicide by Bruce at Ramsey Lake near Sudbury.
Jack makes some interesting sermonettes as a talk show host. He mentions that the English invented the idea of land as private property just 300 years ago, and asks if companies can charge for water, could they charge for air, too? He compares owning real property to owning people, the latter of which was slavery. There is plenty of left-wing moralizing in the script.
Magnolia’s link for the site is here.
Because of my own writing, a fiction manuscript about a CIA agent, I was interested in how some of my own material would compare to this film (and many others). I have very little “undercover subversion” in my own story, but I do have the concept of meeting up of various people with unusual things in common.
A book review ("Four Souls") on June 2, 2007 (in the Book reviews blog) talks about some water projects, including one in which a relative of mine from Ohio participated in Guatemala a few years ago.
Wikipedia attribution link for Ramsey Lake Picture, The closest I’ve gotten to there is Toronto, Ottawa, or Thunder Bay. But a woman I dated in the early 1970s had been there. The scenery would resemble northern Minnesota.