Poor Candy. Not only is she paralysed, badly dressed and cursed with an improbably stupid name, but she's been sent on a spiritual retreat in the Scottish Highlands to explore "Adventures in Truth" with American self-help guru Donna and six other people with "issues". Donna teaches personal growth, using a seven-step programme, which involves telling the truth at all times, eating greyish-brown slop and cutting all contact with the outside world. Nobody in their right mind would choose to be there.

For the first 45-minutes this is potentially an award-winning sitcom. Milton and Tilton (their REAL names - I have not made this up) have a talent for dialogue, in particular the kind of wry satire that provokes cringes and belly laughs in equal measure. It's well cast with an array of familiar and talented faces, who do not work as much as they deserve to.

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The group take their seats in a caring non-discriminatory circle and Donna solemnly announces, "It's essential that everyone realises irony has no place in this room." For a while, as everyone is forced to bond politely by sharing palatable secrets with strangers, the whole New Age cult of pseudo-spirituality is sent up rather beautifully. Candy thinks it's all a waste of time, Spud is a disciple and the others lie somewhere in the middle, although nobody cares what happened to Scott when he was 14.

It's only when tempers get frayed and people start telling proper, personal and hurtful truths that the writers back away from the challenge and take refuge in a silly murder mystery instead. After an unconvincing argument, someone ends up dead in the woods and this film loses the plot.

The identity of the killer is never revealed. It's up to the audience to make up their own minds, with the intention of provoking debate on student sofas across the land. This is an unlikely scenario. Which can equally be said of the entire second act. And the third. When will directors learn that a modern audience is not so easily fooled by an ambiguous ending? We all know it just means you don't know either.

Ignoring the superlative stupidity of the whodunit aspect and Blossom's revelation (WHAT were you thinking?!), this is a mostly entertaining black comedy that will likely prove more popular on DVD than in cinemas.

Maybe, it's nicer to lie.

Reviewed on: 13 Jan 2006
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The Truth packshot
Darkly comic self-help murder mystery in the Scottish Highlands.
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Read more The Truth reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ***1/2
Scott Macdonald ***

Director: George Milton

Writer: George Milton, Mark Tilton

Starring: Elaine Cassidy, Elizabeth McGovern, Stephen Lord, Karl Theobald, Rachael Stirling, Lea Mornar, Zoe Telford, William Beck, Sean Murray, Amelia Bullmore, Sheyla Shehovich, David Cann

Year: 2006

Runtime: 114 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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