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Review: Gabriel Byrne entangled in messy melodrama ‘Lies We Tell’

Gabriel Byrne in the movie "Lies We Tell."
Gabriel Byrne in the movie “Lies We Tell.”
(Bradford International Film Associates)

Truth be told, “Lies We Tell” is a pretentious and muddled dud of a melodrama.

Billed inexplicably as a thriller, the film, set in the culturally complex British working-class town of Bradford, is initially seen through the sad, sympathetic eyes of Gabriel Byrne’s Donald, a loyal limo driver whose philandering philanthropist employer, Demi (a briefly-seen Harvey Keitel), has dropped dead of a heart attack.

Posthumously left with instructions to clean up Demi’s affairs of the nonbusiness variety, Donald arrives at the love nest his boss shared with his beautiful, much-younger Muslim mistress, Amber (Sibylla Deen), who refuses to go gently into the night.

While he has taken her for a high-price hooker, it turns out that Amber is actually a law student with strict parents disapproving of her modern ways; she also happens to have an estranged husband (Jan Uddin) who’s a vicious Pakistani crime lord.

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And that’s just for starters.

In his first directorial effort, 48-year-old businessman Mitu Misra, along with screenwriters Ewen Glass and Andy McDermott, have piled on enough platitudes to populate a prime-time soap for an entire season, not to mention almost as many clashing filmmaking styles.

Struggling to find some sort of viable through-line in the overwrought morass, tortured souls Byrne and Deen end up fighting a losing battle with character inconsistencies and a jarringly ill-fitting score by respected Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner.

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‘Lies We Tell’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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