As a parent, you would do anything for your children, right? Driving them to school, accompanying them to music practice and just being there for them when they need support in one way or another. However, what if the protection of your children goes further than that? That’s precisely the starting point of “The Lie”, the newest film of director Veena Sud (“The Salton Sea”). While the movie, that’s based on the film “Wir Monster” by Sebastian Ko, has a very slow (maybe a little bit too slow) pace, it’s still really a wonderful, captivating portrayed and very well-told dark movie.
While Rebecca (Mireille Enos) and Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) separated from each other a few years ago, they regularly meet up because of their daughter, Kayla (Joey King). Despite not living together anymore, there’s still a lot of respect between Rebecca and Jay, and sometimes it feels like they’re still living together. Life seems pretty standard. Those everyday lives change completely when an ‘accident’ happens. Jay is driving both Kayla, and her best friend Britney (Devery Jacobs) to dance camp when the young women get into a fight and Britney falls from a bridge into the freezing water. However, it’s everything but an accident. Kalya confesses that she pushed Britney off that bridge without being able to foresee the disastrous consequences.
Kayla and her family have now to figure out what to do and make a decision that everyone supports. After the many ‘do we need to look for Britney?’, ‘should we go to the police instead?’, ‘how will this impact our lives?’ conversations, the family decides to keep quiet about the accident. Mostly for the sake of our daughter. Despite the tense situation, Kayla handles it pretty well (too well?). Their decision seems to be the correct one until Britney’s father (Cas Anvar) starts to look for his missing daughter. Kayla’s behaviour is too normal for someone who just pushed her best friend. When the emotions run high, and the family lies spiral out of control, their lives are falling apart slowly. Will the family be able to stick together and get through this, or did they make the wrong decision to begin with?
“The Lie” is part of the “Welcome To The Blumhouse” initiative which involves four disturbing films under one roof. This new concept is a collaboration between Amazon Studios & Blumhouse Television, and the four films come out in October. Luckily for us, “The Lie” is one of the first movies to be released because it’s certainly a film you will enjoy very much.
While the story is based on the original movie, Sud wanted to give her spin to it. When talking to her about this film, she mentioned that ‘the successful adaptations don’t become just a transcript’ and that she could only inhabit her reality. She puts some of her ideas into this movie, such as a more prominent focus on race and the justice system, and while those changes might seem drastic, they work exceptionally well. Ok, it would have been a little bit better if she added more punch to the story because once in a while it feels like “The Lie” drags on, but, nevertheless, the movie is extremely well-thought off and is filled with important topics and emotionally layered performances.
Those performances are brought wonderfully by the entire cast. Sarsgaard (“Jackie”, “Mr. Jones”) is marvellous as he finds a way to show us the multiple sides of his character. The loving father, the rational father and the one who would do anything to protect his daughter. Enos (“Behold My Heart”, “Never Here”) her performance is also very emotional but in a totally different way. Kayla’s mom is the more sensitive of the two, and that becomes very clear after watching the touching and delicate performance by Enos. Both Sarsgaard and Enos worked together with Sud on “Off the Reservation”, an episode of “The Killing”, and Sud described that their performance was just extraordinary. We wouldn’t say that that’s the case in this movie as well, but there’s undoubtedly a wonderful chemistry between the two.
King (“Radium Girls”, “The Kissing Booth”) delivers a clever and witty performance. She knows how to balance the guilty but also the more relaxed side of her character, and she makes sure that we didn’t see that ending coming.
Even though the pace should have been much faster than it is now, the strong performances and the dark and intriguing story make from “The Lie” a fine introduction to the “Welcome To The Blumhouse” series.
“The Lie” is out now on Amazon Prime Video.