“He who tells a lie is not sensible of how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.” – Alexander Pope
Welcome to the Blumhouse Presents: THE LIE
It all starts with a lie. A little, seemingly innocuous utterance of words pieced together to deceive someone. Whatever the motivation behind the lie remains unimportant to the overall goal of withholding information. A white lie to protect someone’s feelings, a mistruth to protect a friend’s secret. In the case of The Lie, one girl’s deception leads to not only more lies compounded on top of one another but inescapable consequences emanating from unspeakable acts in defense of that one little lie. One lie only begets another and another and another…
In a more psychologically driven thriller, The Lie poses questions about loyalty and how far one is willing to go to protect those we love. At a certain point the lies pile up and begin to only bring about doubt rather than misdirection. Unfortunately in such extreme conditions most often consider the destination closer than the start and to turn back at such a pivotal moment only seems counterintuitive. What they fail to realize is that in a world created of lies the outcome without repercussion option is a lie itself. Truth cannot come of nothing but deceit.
The Lie features commanding performances from Peter Sarsgaard, Joey King, and Mireille Enos who together star as a family caught in a self-made calamity. Everything they know and love is now threatened in a single moment of reaction without consideration. Sarsgaard as the father decides to conceal his daughter’s mistake(?) which only drags down his ex-wife. It is in these moments of panic and realization that we see mother and daughter are not so different. At times it becomes downright eerie to see the identical behavior spill over between a mother and daughter who otherwise would appear normal and level headed. It’s amazing what one lie can accomplish when left unchecked.
At times this story can create genuine moments of distress, the questions and themes it faces asking us as the audience what we would do in such a situation. It has a lot going for it but what ultimately dragged this movie down for me at least is the characters themselves. There is not a single likable person among them. This is not a critique of the actor’s performances but the choices of the characters who never seem to proceed with any kind of logic to their hasty decision making. As a parent it might be easier to sympathize with their choices early on but over time they begin to sink into the same hole dug by their ungrateful, bitchy little teenager.
That statement feels a bit harsh as you learn more of the girl’s mental instability but even a single moment of gratitude or remorse for her actions or the protection her parents are providing her is never given. She acts inconvenienced by the entire matter and refuses to help with an alibi that would prevent her own prison sentence. She creates such a nightmarish scenario and then has the nerve to act put out, as if she had no hand in the matter. It’s absolutely infuriating to watch as her parents just keep taking it, and continually pivot to adjust to their daughter’s erratic behavior. By the time credits began to roll I simply didn’t care about a single one of them. The big twist even manages to make the victim of the entire story not only complicit but just as loathsome as everyone else.
To a point it’s easy to relate, to feel for two parents just wanting to protect their progeny but as with all things the lies begin to turn them into something unrecognizable from who they were and these new “shells” are despicable and frustrating. In the end I was glad they got what was coming to them.
It’s a decent enough story filled with scumbag characters. The only justice is their comeuppance is realized and consequence has its day in the sun. The Lie is a movie that overall I found enough to like but in the end left me with zero desire to ever go through it all again. It’s greatest strength, the story, is bogged down heavily by its worst offense, the characters and for that I simply couldn’t forgive it.
Rated R For: language throughout, some violence and brief sexuality
Runtime: 97 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Joey King, Mireille Enos, Cas Anvar
Directed By: Veena Sud
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 2.5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: No, but it is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Check out the trailer below:
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