Customer Reviews for

The Riddle

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hiding Riddles in Plain Sight

    THE RIDDLE was written and directed by Brendan Foley in what appears to be an attempt to pull the mysteries of the Charles Dickens' novels into a contemporary story, but that attempt is thwarted by electing to use the two periods of time format in which the 'riddle' is unraveled. Despite a cast of well-known actors, trying their best to pull off this direct to DVD movie, the end product is a long, tedious, amateurish mess that can only be considered as entertainment if viewers are fans of the cast as remembered from other films. Mike Sullivan (Vinnie Jones) is a journalist confined to reporting on dog racing events while he dreams of important reporting assignments. A series of similar murders happens to include an old friend of Mike's - Sadie (Vera Day) who runs a pub on the banks of the Thames, having just discovered an old valuable unpublished manuscript by Charles Dickens, and has a heart of gold, giving sandwiches away to such pathetic creatures as an old tramp beachcomber (Derek Jacobi). Sadie's murder attracts Mike to the role of detective journalism and with the help of policewoman Kate (Julie Cox) he begins to tie the investigation to clues he finds in reading the Dickens manuscript. Disrupting the flow of this rather simplistic story is the use of flashbacks to Dickens' time as Dickens (again Derek Jacobi) narrates a rather personal story of peculiar murders. The parallel between stories and the cross casting among actors may have worked in another's hands, but the finessing of this kind of venture escapes writer/director Brendan Foley. He draws his story to a close (at long last) with a tired Hollywoodesque ending. In addition to Jones, Jacobi, Cox, and Day, the film somehow attracted the attention of Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Flemyng, PH Moriarty and Mel Smith: their contributions are minimal but happily distracting. This is a flimsy bit of treacle leaving the viewer wondering how films of this quality ever find funding. Grady Harp

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