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Top Customer Reviews
This film does draw very loosely on events in Dickens' life and marriage, though it "re-writes" much. More interestingly, it brings out the darker side of the Victorian author's work with quotes from Oliver Twist, reference to the murders in Our Mutual Friend, and an almost Poe-like narration of a tale of madness and murder.
Derek Jacobi is versatile as ever, portraying both an insane (though well-read) homeless man, and the author/narrator of the newly discovered Dickens manuscript. Mel Smith (The Princess Bride, Alas Smith and Jones, Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night)has a brief but amusing appearance as the enthusiastic (and athsmatic?) authenticator of the manuscript.
Not big on action, but definitely worth watching for the sake of a good story. An added bonus is that, unlike the young and beautiful Hollywood sterotypes we are so familiar with, this cast can really act.
Unfortunately, the director chose to portray half the story in present day London and the remainder in Dickens' Victorian era story which coincidentally mirrors the current events (many of the actors besides Jacobi have dual roles also). It makes the rest of the movie confusing and distracting and had me nearly comatose at times. It might have sounded good on paper but the finished product was pretty boring and contrived. They even managed to make Jones, who is usually such an energetic presence in his roles seem pretty darned bland. Not worth a purchase; put this one in your Netflix queue instead.
© Tracy Vest, September 2008
He delivers an excellent performance as Mike Sullivan, a hustling sports reporter who dreams of moving into hard news. And the story that might make his career: Investigating the mysterious murder of a local pub owner. Unbeknownst to him is that this is no average street crime. It might just be the tip of a very ugly iceberg, possibly threatening the government itself. And the powers-that-be aren't going to let that happen.
Unfortunately that wonderful performance was stuck inside this bizarre little film.
Attempting to blend two completely incongruous tales - the plot I described above and, hold onto your seats, a lost story by Charles Dickens. An unpublished manuscript which is explained by Dickens himself (Derek Jacobi) during the turbulent period following his wife's undiagnosed mental illness, which one presumes to be schizophrenia.
It's the constant flipping between 'today' and the Victorian England past that makes this such a quirky production. Had this been a straight thriller I honestly believe it would've been quite excellent, on par with something like "The International".
Unfortunately, that's not what happened.
It's difficult to review this without giving too much away - as I never want to play spoiler, even if the film is a steaming dung pile.
That's not the case with The Riddle - it's decent for a purely will-only-watch-this-once-in-my-life category type of flick.
But I so wish that Jones is given more roles like this one; he can do so much more than a frowning bloodthirsty hulk. In this film he convincingly portrays vulnerable, sweet, and even self-deprecating. And Jones' enjoyable non-thug performance is the only reason it rates three-stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incredible, and it was based off of lost novel by Charles Dickens.Published 8 months ago by scott ryan
The movie was okay, but I had high hopes for it, especially since it had Derek Jacobi and Vinnie Jones as cast, and I can't blame the actors - they did the best they could. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great tale starring the usually underappreciated Vinnie Jones.Whether he's working with Guy Richie or starring in Mean Machine remake of The Longest Yard,he's proven he can act. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Ellen
I persevered to the end of the movie and feel I should be given some kind of award. Whatever the director (and scriptwriter) was thinking does not translate into rewarding... Read morePublished on July 6, 2012 by B. R. Livingstone
This movie was order incorrectly. The movie I wanted was called Riddle with Val Kilmer starring in it. I didnt like this movie. It was boring and didn't make much sense.. Read morePublished on October 25, 2011 by cherimae
Other than the hot lead male actor I was sorta lost regarding this movie....Decent film. Again, lead actor kept me captivated not the plot.Published on June 29, 2011 by julesjulski
Director/Writer Brenden Foley continues to flog ex-footballer Vinnie Jones in disastrous film after disastrous film for who knows what unfathomable mystery. Read morePublished on August 15, 2010 by California Will
I loved the "history", the film was well done and I enjoyed the characters - I felt like I got to know them well. It was a fantastic ending! I'm buying it for my personal library.Published on December 12, 2008 by CP