The Good Lie

Shawn Linden

BY Serena WhitneyPublished May 9, 2013

Typically, when one thinks of the term "Canadian indie," it induces excessive groaning. Although some are executed flawlessly, the majority of them feature prominent Canadian actors starring in either a melodramatic thriller or a quirky comedy that uses a "unique" framing device that merely just amplifies the awkward juxtapositions throughout the entire film. Sadly, The Good Lie falls into this latter category.

Writer/director Shawn Linden's Montreal-shot drama follows a young, privileged University student named Cullen (Thomas Dekker). Six months after the tragic death of his mother, Cullen's life is further torn apart after he discovers that the man who's been raising him (Matt Craven) isn't his biological father and that he was actually the product of a violent rape his mother barely survived 21 years ago.

In the span of 24 hours, Cullen goes down the self-destructive path of tracking down the man who raped his mother, only to discover far more than he bargained for in this grim and slightly mediocre film posing as a thriller.

While focused on his ambivalence towards mainstream success North of the border, Linden frames the narrative structure of the film within a series of bizarre and Darwin Award-worthy campfire tales that are mildly entertaining yet fail to serve the plot or the characters' motivations in the slightest.

Like many other Canadian films, The Good Lie suffers from persistently disjointed scenes involving multiple points of views in a convoluted manner. While juxtaposing serious scenes involving Cullen's emotional turmoil with campfire tales involving a horny, pregnant nun giving birth to a zucchini plant, the illogical editing style takes away from the dramatic tension and the suspense the viewer's attracted to in the first place.

The Good Lie may have been made with the best of intentions, but due to its thematically awkward transitions, it fails to fully develop character arcs and showcase the emotional nuances the film obviously intended to convey.

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