Lie Low Image

Lie Low

By Bobby LePire | November 3, 2019

Of course, I did only mention the more technical aspects when it came to signing Lie Low’s accolades for a reason. That is because Noel is a vastly superior director than he is a writer. To put it frankly, the film’s story is very shallow and is riddled with plot holes. First off, why in the hell Marty did not join the rest of his family in departing to France is never adequately explained. Sadly, this is a huge problem, considering the amount of time that is spent cutting between the two stories in the two countries.

Compounding the confusion in the British plotline is who is whom exactly? I know Malk (Ryan Hayes) is the brother of the initial victim. He’s impulsive, and angry goon is John (Craig Miller). What is less apparent is what sort of power these two exert in this small community. Also, what exactly happened and how Marty saved Parnell’s life makes little sense. Noel chose to explain this via a psychedelic trip, and it was a poor decision. How certain people- who do wind up dead at the hands of the psychotic John- are involved, or what they might know also remain as vague as possible.

“…dialogue-free and brilliantly establishes the crime and the escape with urgency and a visually hypnotizing manner.”

But, the heart of the film lies with the family in France. Sadly, this is equally as much of a letdown. Parnell chides his sister that she couldn’t “wait to get out” of their hometown and make something of herself. Considering she lives in a massive French countryside estate, and that she’s the most attuned to her emotions and the most empathetic, she was clearly in the right. Given that he’s her younger brother, it is not like she could have him come with her, as he would have still been a minor (he might still be; his specific age remains unclear). Why Parnell is angry at Esme for making something of herself does not work.

Maggie is even more of a puzzle. I understand the reasons she never called to ask before up and leaving for France. Esme is annoyed at that, but her mom’s reasoning makes sense. However, when Esme calls her mom out for lying- at first a fire is cited as the reason for the trip, then water damage- Maggie gets riled up at being called a liar while admitting to lying. It does not work at all.

Plus, whatever history is present between Esme and her mom is only discussed in the most basic of terms. Did Maggie ever hit Esme? Was Maggie addicted to drugs? Or was Maggie negligent while raising her daughter? Based on what is shown and told to the audience in Lie Low, all of these are as equally as likely. This is a drama that never actually gets into the drama, so the past is never confronted, which means the audience always at a distance from the story.

Jamie Noel reportedly shot Lie Low in under two weeks. While I have seen no official confirmation that is the case, the impressive visuals and excellent performances are all the more so if that is the case. With a tighter script that explored everybody’s motivations better, he would have had a masterpiece. As is, the movie is a herald of great things to come but not great itself.

Lie Low (2019)

Directed and Written: Jamie Noel

Starring: Aaron Thomas Ward, Debra Baker, Elina Saleh, Taz Skylar, Jake Phillips Head, Johnny Vivash, etc.

Movie score: 5.5/10

Lie Low Image

"…Noel is a vastly superior director than he is a writer."

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