6 March 2002 | therealgoatee
A tense, gruesomely fascinating ensemble piece
The Truth Game, the middle film in Simon Rumley's trilogy about young Londoners at the turn of the Millennium, was in fact the final one to be written and, in places, it seems as though this could be a problem. Rather like Tarantino's Jackie Brown, Rumley's third film as writer is an odd mixture of greater maturity but less care. It has neither the originality of Strong Language (= Pulp Fiction) nor the pace of Club Le Monde (Reservoir Dogs) but nonetheless remains an exceptional piece of writing and an interesting, occasionally hilarious film.
The premise is laughably simple - six friends meet up for dinner and, despite being best mates, all lie to each other - but it is the execution that is fascinating: the camera is, in best docu-soap tradition, an unflinching fly-on-the-wall that ensures that the audience as aware of every lie and every unfaithfulness each of the characters commits.
It is fair to say that the characters are pretty unlikable but, like an episode of Eastenders, that is part of the grim fascination. Everyone has cheated on everyone else and they all suspect it - the tension is palpable from the opening scene onwards. Indeed, it is safe to say that "fascinating", rather than "fun" or "enjoyable", is the best way of describing the experience of watching this film.
Rumley's expert scripting (which, like Strong Language, seems quasi-autobiographical) is not quite matched by his directing which, whilst mostly good, falters in a couple of places. However, being an enclosed, ensemble-piece, the film is made or broken on the quality of the performances. In all but one case, these are excellent: intense yet natural.
It's not Rumley's best but as a companion to his other films, The Truth Game is indispensable.