The Lie

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 ****

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