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Non-Review Review: The Truth Commissioner

This film was seen as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2016.

The Truth Commissioner began life as a pitch for a BBC television show.

This is quite clear from the way that film is put together, both in terms of plotting and in terms of visual composition. It is not too difficult to imagine The Truth Commissioner stretched out to a prestigious six-week television drama event series, playing as a sibling series to other politically-charged thrillers like The Honourable Woman or The Night Manager; albeit with a more modest cast and location than those two recent high-profile examples of the BBC’s dramatic programming.

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As written by Eoin O’Callaghan, The Truth Commissioner feels rather condensed; populated by a cast of characters who seem compressed to fit the movie’s relatively modest runtime. Character relationships and dynamics are rendered in extremes; they are either left inferred or bluntly stated. There is a sense that The Truth Commissioner has been stripped down to fit this particular format, playing as a rough outline of a strong central idea rather than a fully realised political thriller.

Director Declan Recks does a great job realising this contemporary Belfast drama, layering on the paranoia as the eponymous character finds himself navigating dangerous waters. The Truth Commissioner is a stylish piece of work, albeit one that seems more like a condensed BBC drama than an exciting feature film in its own right.

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