Based on 2015’s We Monsters, The Lie follows separated couple Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) and Rebecca (Mireille Enos) as they’re forced to cover up their daughter’s (Joey King’s Kayla) lethal mistake – with the narrative detailing the various problems that inevitably begin to crop up. It’s a decidedly outlandish premise that would hardly seem unwelcome within the context of a fast-paced thriller, and yet writer/director Veena Sud delivers a sluggish and overlong drama that’s rarely as compelling or even interesting as she’s surely intended – with Sud’s pervasively lackadaisical approach highlighting the ludicrousness of the narrative’s various elements. There’s little doubt, too, that The Lie‘s less-than-engrossing vibe is compounded by a stagnant, stagy feel, as much of the movie, which transpires mostly within the increasingly cramped confines of the central characters’ house, follows the three protagonists as they attempt to figure a way out of a progressively precarious situation – although little of their tedious conspiring and planning (and shouting) is able to lift the picture out of its serious doldrums. And although the inclusion of a few admittedly compelling sequences provides all-too-short-lived instances of electricity, The Lie predominantly comes off as a woefully misguided endeavor that’s rarely, if ever, able to generate the thrills one might’ve expected (although, having said that, the third-act twist does ensure that, at the very least, the movie ends on a relatively positive note).
** out of ****