The first of eight releases in a partnership between Amazon Prime and mainstream horror factory Blumhouse (of which the first four are released at the time of this writing) is a massive departure from what audiences might expect given some of their biggest hits. This film also gives off the impression that these are just eight random films that the studio had on their books but could not flog in a way that coincided nicely with Amazon’s search for new content during the pandemic. It premiered at TIFF 2018 under a different title (Between Earth And Sky) and only now seeing the light of day as a result of this partnership. Mireille Enos and Peter Sarsgaard are the parents of Joey King whose central character pushes one of his supposed best friends off a bridge. Thus begins a fairly standard fusion of crime movie and melodrama. This production clearly had bigger ambitions (the central performances from Skarsgard and Enos are pretty solid ) but its let down by a screenplay that’s only marginally above CW levels and one of the worst performances in recent memory from King. Characters in a story like this don’t need to be likeable but if the performances and writing are solid the audience should at least feel engaged regarding the central thrust of the narrative (in this case focusing on the aftermath of the central crime.) Kings performance is so one dimensional (playing an obnoxious whiny teenager with the subtlety of a sledgehammer ) thus a good chunk of the audience will likely want to see her get comeuppance from very early on. Outside of this performance for roughly 80 of its 97 minutes things proceed exactly as expected for this variety of drama.
For its final act, the film delivers one of the most insanely bonkers and yet incredibly misjudged twists ending audiences will experience this year. It’s the kind of thing that will simultaneously produce insane laughter, a feeling of incredible insensitivity or the general question of how on earth this twist got approved for use in a production that was initially aimed for a prestige release. It joins other recent entries The Book of Henry and Collateral Beauty into the “incredibly insensitive but entertainingly mad” camp. It’s a shame these films have got little promotion (based on this entry deservedly so.) For lovers of insanely misjudged misfires on film, the ending should have gained the film more traction.
The Lie is the kind of sterile failed awards bait where it quickly becomes obvious why the film was dumped on streaming as part of a package deal. The twist ending is so bananas that it’s kind of a shame the film hasn’t gained more traction at least from lovers of the “WTF is this” type of Hollywood disaster. It’s worth watching for that audience exclusively for the ending but no one else need bother.