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

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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.

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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.

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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