Making its initial premier at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, ‘The Lie‘ was picked up by Amazon Studios and released in 2020 as part of their Welcome To Blumhouse anthology.
While Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) is driving his daughter Kayla (Joey King) to a ballet camp, they pick up her friend Brittany (Devery Jacobs). They stop briefly at an isolated bridge for a restroom break when Jay hear a scream. After locating his daughter, she tells him that during an argument, she pushed Brittany over the bridge. After failing to locate her, Jay goes to see his ex-wife Rebecca (Mireille Enos) and explains what happened. They immediately begin to cover up the crime, dodging Brittany’s father Sam (Cas Anvar) and suspicious police detectives Kenji Tagata (Patti Kim) and Rodney Barnes (Nicholas Lea). Soon, Jay and Rebecca take actions they never thought possible as their daughter acts suspiciously normal.
The film definitely does a good job of ratcheting up the tension. You feel the growing pressure on the parents as they are trying to cover-up their daughter’s crime as well as their frustration at her normalcy followed by sudden, but brief bouts of panic. In that regard, the talent of Sarsgaard and Enos was on full display.
Joey King does a good job as well. In moments of panic, you can feel it in her performance. However, the script does not do a good job of developing her character. Each parent has a different perspective on her, but the movie does not help you decide which is true or if they are completely wrong about her. It left a little bit of a gap as far as expectations.
The movie is a remake of the 2015 German film Wir Monster (We Monsters) which follows a similar premise. As far as aesthetic, it does hit the European cinema vibe. Bleak outlook, little character development, no sense of brevity, nihilism, but I will say it was well-paced and did not overstay its welcome. There is a twist at the end that you do not see coming and it was not a cheap one. It literally made me gasp when it happened and that is some good writing.
‘The Lie‘ is billed as a thriller and on that note, it delivers. You stay hooked from beginning to end as the plot unfolds before you. Even with the hang-ups, it keeps on the edge of your seat.
Check out the trailer below: