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Lies We Tell


Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Sibylla Deen, Jan Uddin, Mark Addy, Reece Ritchie, Gina McKee, Emily Atack, Nicholas Farrell, Danica Johnson, Harvey Keitel, Toyah Willcox

Director: Mitu Misra

Prizes will be awarded to anyone able to follow the plot, let alone the muttered and whispered dialogue, of this Bradford-set thriller, whose incoherent narrative centres on Donald (an uneasily-cast Byrne), driver to wealthy Demi (an inexplicably short appearance by Keitel), who dies suddenly, setting in motion a plot concerning his Anglo/Pakistani mistress (Deen), and her (non) relations with her family.

She is being blackmailed over footage of her cavorting with Keitel, which falls into the hands of her cousin (Uddin), the local narcotics king, who once went through a 'fake' arranged marriage with her, and now has his eyes on her little sister (Johnson). And Keitel's son (Ritchie) attempts to blackmail her into having sex with him.

In view of their nationalities (Irish, Australian etc), the entire cast unsurprisingly struggles with their 'Bradford' accents, vowel sounds proving particularly troublesome. At least Uddin comes from near-ish Stoke-on-Trent, although he plays his character like a silent-screen villain.

Who does Byrne keep asking badly-beaten people if they're all right? Why is he stopped by police while driving along in his car? And do we really care about the silly little sister? At least, the piece is nicely shot, both by day and night, in crisp, clear colours by Santosh Sivan, but the pace of the story is uneven to say the least, and its 109 minutes seem more like 190.

David Quinlan

UK 2016. UK Distributor: Miracle Communications. Colour (unspecified).
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 27 Jan 2018