Lies We Tell
Nothing can be deleted forever, especially with all the high-tech devices in our pockets; traces of sins would always remain, be recoverable. So, it couldn’t be an easy task billionaire Demi (Harvey Keitel) left to his loyal driver Donald (Gabriel Byrne) in his last will. At the end of the funeral, the trustworthy employee has to get rid of any signs of his boss’s affair with Amber (Sibylla Deen), a Muslim woman. Dismantling the apartment where the two lovers secretly met is not so difficult compared to the search and appropriation of a phone video where the couple was filmed in a luscious moment. The file is found by Demi’s son, and then it ends up with KD (Jan Uddin), cousin and ex-husband of Amber.
The story reaches thrilling moments as it entangles more and more with Pakistani customs, from forced marriage to the dispel of evil. Amber is already a shame to her family, because of the divorce from KD, despite the abuses the man inflicted on her. As often in these cases, the guilt lies with the woman. Traditions need to be honoured, and the parents do not seem to have second thoughts in perpetrating the exchange of shares for daughters in marriage.
The tension is built gradually, from a smooth beginning featuring a poised Keitel, to more action scenes in the second part. Zbigniew Preisner has composed an intense score, but this doesn’t really seem to fit within the movie in the correct timing, especially the excessively melodic tunes in the first half.
The beautiful countryside of Bradford appears less than we might have expected. The drama is mostly set in the chaotic and buzzing clubs, in the dimly lit streets, in the hidden corners of the town. The cinematography in every place, however, is absolutely brilliant, with the camera breathing among close-ups and broad frames. The sharp contrast of colours is effective: bright and lively in the oppressive families, pale and greyish for all the rest, especially the protective environment of Donald’s house.
By working up the narrative from the angle of British Asians, director Mitu Misra takes on an original story, which doesn’t want to impose any compassion or clash prejudices in the viewers’ minds. Here there is not the dispute of emancipation vs traditions – see how Amber freely puts on and off her hijab or how the girls are left going out without problems, if not for their personal fear of the bad guys wandering on the streets. The movie revolves rather around honesty and care for loved ones, respect and deals, slipping at times into stark gangster mode.
Lies We Tell is released nationwide on 2nd February 2018.
Watch the trailer for Lies We Tell here: