THE LIE’s twist ending, which I predicted a mile away, might make or break your opinion of the whole film, and that ending will unfortunately overshadow how many stupid actions the characters make during the course of it. There are many idiotic mistakes and decisions that A. don’t make any logical sense and B. cause too many plot holes. For me, even though I predicted the ending, it was still frustrating because some of the scenes earlier in the film contradicted the reveal when revealed. The movie was written and directed by Veena Sud, who I just gave great praise to in Quibi’s The Stranger and I loved her television show The Killing, and while the way the film is shot, the desperate tone, the dark mood, atmosphere, and acting are all top notch, the screenplay for me was a giant problem here. You will constantly be screaming at the screen the correct decisions the characters needed to make and then wondering if anyone is legitimately that idiotic in real life (spoiler alert: there is, anybody deeply involved in politics). There are no politics in this however, only moral dilemmas, but the characters are so horribly underwritten that their moral decisions are unfocused, blurry, confusing, and make no sense in contrast to scenes that have just played out for the audience. This was filmed in 2018 and has been sitting on Blumhouse’s shelf for a couple of years, nobody really knowing what to do with it. Nothing like a pandemic delaying the blockbusters to just dump stuff like this on streaming services to give lazy pussies something to watch, am I right???
IMDB describes THE LIE, originally titled ‘Between Earth and Sky’ (WTAF?!?), with the following: “A father and daughter are on their way to dance camp when they spot the girl’s best friend on the side of the road. When they stop to offer the friend a ride, their good intentions soon result in terrible consequences.” Since the inciting incident happens no longer than ten minutes in, I’m just going to tell you what happens so you can gain some context into my review and the stupid decisions and things that happen afterward. The daughter and friend get the father to stop the car to go off to pee in the middle of a snowy forest and bridge that happens to be on the side of the road of the route they are taking, and the daughter, after a minor argument in the car moments earlier, pushes said friend into the chilly river and lake below. The rest of the movie is the father (played by Peter Sarsgaard) and the mother (Mireille Enos) trying to cover up what happened so that way their daughter (played by Joey King) won’t go to jail for murder and ruin her future. The stupid decisions literally start right after you hear a scream from the forest and the father comes upon his daughter on the bridge alone (he was respecting their privacy and waiting by the car for them to do their business, so he doesn’t see what happened). From there you get dumb decisions and actions such as:
1. When one character runs away from another in their neighborhood and seemingly gets away, the character that ran off immediately afterward starts walking slowly down the middle of the road in their neighborhood.
2. A character doesn’t answer the front door from a other angry character and thinks he/she can’t be seen in the house even though the windows behind he/she are all open for the world to see. Any sane person, if wanting to see if anyone is home combined with being really angry, can and WILL just go around to the back of the house to see if anyone is hiding.
3. The parents constantly tell their daughter to stay put, not to show herself, don’t come outside, etc etc other smart things that the daughter constantly disobeys not two seconds later.
4. Possible evidence at the crime scene is not only left and not looked for stupidly but the evidence that hasn’t been disturbed and needs to stay there is moronically taken back home by one of the characters.
5. The parents don’t interrogate the daughter correctly and ask the right questions, and the police are really really really dumb and their investigation is borderline malpractice here.
There are many more than just those five listed, and I don’t want to go into spoiler territory, but you should catch my drift. There are a few good things about this film, as I have mentioned earlier. It’s filmed really well. The mood, atmosphere, and tone is dark and dreary. The situation that would present a huge sense of dread among those involved in the real world is perfectly replicated here I think. All three key players, Sarsgaard, Enos, and King are all top notch here and their acting is great as always. The movie is certainly watchable, because even though I had a problem with it I can’t deny I was entertained for 95 minutes and wanted to see everything play out. And in a film that could’ve been written and handled much better than this was, the twist probably would’ve worked for me (I bet you can guess what the twist is already, I’ve provided enough clues as to what it is). But alas, it didn’t because of the contradictions to what came before combined with some pretty big plot holes. What it all really bogs down to is whether or not I give this a recommendation. While I was entertained, I really just can’t give it one, because when I try and think back fondly on it, the stupid character decisions and the loose screenplay keeps sinking into my brain to the point where I can no longer lie to myself. The truth is that it’s a frustrating miss and mess, plain and simple.