Charlie Tango is an independent tale of deception and desperation

by Gordon Shelly

Charlie Tango, an indie film written and directed by Simon Boisvert, takes the viewer in multiple directions before settling in and letting us know exactly what we’re in for as this story unfolds. At the start, a tragic event occurs, making the viewer suspect they will be watching the dramatic and emotional journey of a protagonist putting the pieces together in the aftermath. And, yes, in part, that is what happens, but that tragedy is merely the frame story for a more sinister plotline.

We are first introduced to the protagonist, Kim (Stacie Mistysyn), as she hangs onto her musical dream by performing in a small club, where she also has a quick fling with a patron before heading off to her overnight shift as an air traffic controller.

Without going into too much detail, a tragedy occurs, and Kim then becomes embattled with the emotional, moral, and legal ramifications of what happens to an air traffic controller who may be at fault for this tragedy.

While some of the above summary may feel like a spoiler, it’s not, as this all happens in the first few minutes of the movie.

Kim’s husband, Jeff (Bruce Dinsmore), is a police officer, who seems loving and supportive and is unaware of her infidelity at the nightclub. While on leave from her job, Kim finds work with a real estate investor named Charlie (David La Haye). From the start, Charlie seems a bit shady and nefarious, and he happens to be the man with whom Kim is having an affair.

This is a complicated tale. Initially, it appears as though Kim’s story will revolve around the incident at work and its aftermath, but that merely serves as a bookend to a grand mystery involving Kim, Jeff, and Charlie.

From this point, Charlie Tango, becomes more of a crime mystery-thriller, rather than an emotional journey dealing with tragedy.

Charlie is clearly a user of people with a plan at play for his own financial gain. Kim is eager to stay busy, make money, and distract herself from the emotional trauma she has experienced. Jeff is doing the best he can to support his wife, heal their marriage, and stay on the right side of the law in the process. All the while, the looming impact of the airline accident is constantly overshadowing Kim and her choices.

Boisvert does a fine job directing the movie with a steady pace, and a final runtime under 100 minutes. The acting is solid as well with Mistysyn aptly carrying the weight of the film on her shoulders, and receiving strong performances from co-stars Dinsmore and La Haye.

The primary weaknesses of Charlie Tango stem from the writing. At times, the story and its outcomes are contrived and predictable, but these are hardly faults that keep it from being a very enjoyable movie. Additionally, at the story’s climax, Charlie Tango gives us a “here’s how we did it” montage – a common fallback for modern movies that discredit a viewer’s ability to follow a story that would be better served letting us watch it play out rather than explaining what just happened.

The more difficult challenge as a viewer is finding a character to root for during the course of the story. We are never meant to like the antagonistic Charlie, which is fine, but it’s difficult to tell whether or not Boisvert wants the viewer to like or fill compassion for the protagonist, Kim.

However, the final moments of Charlie Tango might have an answer to that dilemma, but in such a way it leaves us asking if it was worth the journey.

Overall, Boisvert maintains a high level of suspense and mystery, making Charlie Tango a movie worth seeking out and indulging in for 98 minutes.

Gordo’s Grade: B