3 May 2018

BRADFORD INTERNATIONAL FILM ASSOCIATES PRESENTS: LIES WE TELL. (2017) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




LIES WE TELL. (2017) DIRECTED BY MITU MISRA. STARRING GABRIEL BYRNE, HARVEY KEITEL, MARK ADDY, NICHOLAS FARRELL, GINA MCKEE, TOYAH WILLCOX, EMILY ATACK, SIBYLLA DEEN, DANICA JOHNSON, REECE RITCHIE AND JAN UDDIN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'The only men who get caught are those who don't love their wives enough.'

'Please ensure that there are no undesirable repercussions as a result of my indiscretions.'

I wasn't expecting this one to be as good and gripping as it is. The promotional material is misleading and doesn't do it justice, to be honest, calling it a 'thriller about loyalty and revenge' and showing mad pictures of Gabriel Byrne running around the place with a shotgun.

It's actually much better than it looks, and it's not just a boring old run-of-the-mill men-with-guns thriller after all, not that you can tell that from the posters. Let's take a squint at the plot and, amidst numerous spoilers, lol, I can give you a better idea of what I mean.

Okay, so Harvey Keitel (PULP FICTION, RESERVOIR DOGS, THE PIANO) is playing a billionaire called Demi Lempros here, but not for long. He dies within the first few minutes of the film and he tasks his faithful old retainer-slash-chauffeur Donald, played by Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, with the job of removing all traces of his- Demi's- mistress from the flat he rents for her.

Even in death, the dirty old rascal doesn't want his missus to find out what a cheating, lying bastard he was. So, as I said, it falls to Donald to go round to this glossy apartment and get rid of any evidence of the affair. It's a nasty, grimy little job, but he's obviously still being paid by the crafty old billionaire so off he goes to do it.

He finds Amber, Demi's mistress and trainee lawyer (brains as well as looks), at the flat. Words can't describe how stunningly beautiful she is. Tall, dark-haired with a cascade of fabulous long tresses, huge dark eyes and a body to die for. Or kill for. She was clearly way too good for Old Man Lempros, but it's funny the way that women always seem to find the lure of all those greenbacks too strong to resist, lol.

It falls to Donald to break the news of Demi's death to a shocked Amber. He doesn't do a great job of it. The poor girl was actually expecting a visit from her lover- she's all decked out in a sexy black nightie, black stockings, black high heels, the works- and instead she gets the ham-fisted Donald, telling her Demi's croaked and she's got to vacate the premises, asap.

He gives her a lift to her real home in Bradford, where we see immediately that the beautiful Amber has a history, a past and an immensely complicated home life. Amber is a Muslim. She comes from a strict Muslim family who- wait for it- married her off at sixteen to one of her cousins, a devilishly handsome but cruel and perverted man called KD.

Amber and KD are no longer together, something which was Amber's choice and which KD, now a powerful underworld drug-dealer, is still harbouring deep grudges over. KD and his family are planning something, however, a revenge that will turn Amber's blood to ice in her veins when she finds out.

She asks Donald to help her to foil this awful plan. He can't help but agree. He's got eyes in his head after all, hasn't he? He's a man, isn't he, and Amber is the most beautiful woman most men will have ever seen. And there's another little job that he needs to do for her as well.

He needs to wipe a video of Amber in her sex-outfit giving the flabby old Demi a lap-dance from Demi's phone so that Demi's widow (played by Toyah Willcox) doesn't see it. Donald wipes it from the phone, but he reckons without the sneakiness of Demi's thoroughly detestable and amoral son Nathan, a proper little shit who sees the video and likes what he sees. That little video is going to come back to haunt poor Amber in more ways than one...

The arranged marriage storyline is electrifying and also terrifying. The film is set in modern times and it's hard to believe that such a young girl, a child, can be given in marriage to a much older man without her consent, just because it suits both families. Or, more particularly, because it suits the fathers of both families. Men rule this particular world. Women are mere chattels to be parcelled up and posted off when it suits their fathers.

You'll probably think of EAST IS EAST, the brilliant comedy from 1999 which tells the story of a Pakistani chip-shop owner in the 'Seventies who marries an English woman while he still has a wife living in Pakistan.

He tries to force his Pakistani-English children into arranged marriages with disastrous results. The kids want to embrace Western culture while Dad is very much in favour of sticking to his old traditions. Whatever happened to 'when in Rome,' eh...?

Much less funny is the thought-provoking film SHACKLE by my own Facebook friend Dedipya Joshii which deals with the topic of arranged marriage. I'm also put in mind of a film called I AM NOJOOM, AGED TEN AND DIVORCED (speaks for itself!) and another excellent movie called NH10 which deals with the horrible subject of honour killing.

I love the Emily Atack (THE IN-BETWEENERS) character Tracey in LIES WE TELL. She plays the pregnant girlfriend of the violent and promiscuous thug KD. The poor girl, as foul-mouthed and trashy as she is, is in for a world of pain when he marries someone else. He's already giving her a dog's life as it is. She'll never know a moment's peace while he's off with other women and engaging in his shady business dealings.

I'd love to know exactly what's going on in that nightclub scene. Who are all these terrifying men and these ultra-glamorous women, what the f**k are the men doing and are these women their prizes, their rewards for being the best at whatever it is they're doing?

All I know for sure is that I am not tough enough to move in those circles. Even the women scared the living daylights out of me, maybe more so than the men. I wouldn't last five minutes in such a high-pressure situation. It's a different world altogether from the one I'm used to. And that's even before you mention the whole arranged marriages thing.

I could have done without the whole thing of Miriam, Amber's younger sister, calling Donald 'Uncle Donald' and getting puppies from him and Billy. It was a bit unbelievable and sickly-sweet and came about too quickly. Also, 'Our Amy' felt a bit tacked-on too and unnecessary to the plot. Donald's broken marriage is enough to account for that craggy look he has...!

Also, I liked that the girls had a brother with learning difficulties but I would have liked the plot to delve into that a little deeper. Mind you, the plot's a bit crowded as it is. Full to bursting, in fact, so you probably couldn't squish too much more in there.

Mark Addy (THE FULL MONTY) and Gina McKee (NOTTING HILL) are in here too as Donald's cuddly brother-in-law Billy and sulky ex-wife Heather respectively. The broken marriage between Donald and Heather is most likely Donald's fault.

He's a bad communicator and merely being passive-aggressive with him, which seems to have been Heather's favoured modus operandi, will result in failure. If you want to tell him something, you're gonna need to clobber him over the head with it or you'll get nowhere. Same as with most men, so...

LIES WE TELL is out now on Digital Download and on DVD exclusively at ASDA courtesy of BRADFORD INTERNATIONAL FILM ASSOCIATES.




AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com








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