In the picture

June 21, 2020

Netflix thriller Dangerous Lies is an implausible, incoherent mess.

Dangerous Lies

*ing: Camila Mendes, Jessie T. Usher, Jamie Chung, Cam Gigandet, Sasha Alexander, and Elliott Gould

Direction: Michael Scott

It may seem peculiar that the title of this film was changed from the significantly more intriguing Windfall to the unexciting Dangerous Lies, but it all starts to make a lot more sense once you actually watch the movie. At some point, even the filmmakers appear to have realized how underwhelming this damp squib was, and to temper disappointment, they seem to have switched to a title that would automatically lower the viewers’ expectations. And nothing calls for low expectations like a title as dull as ‘Dangerous Lies’.

Rest assured though that its title isn’t the only thing you will roll your eyes at. Most elements of this Netflix thriller are so subpar that it is hard to figure out why it was made in the first place.

The premise is tired and bland. There is a small spark of intrigue initially, a spark that is quickly smothered by the avalanche of ridiculousness that follows.

A financially struggling woman, Katie (Camila Mendes), who has been working as a caregiver for an elderly man, Leonard (Elliott Gould), unexpectedly receives a massive windfall when her wealthy client suddenly dies and leaves her his estate; a development that catches the attention of Detective Chesler (Sasha Alexander). The latter suspects something is amiss.

A few shady characters and several questionable decisions soon put Katie and her husband, Adam (Jessie T. Usher) – who Leonard had hired as a gardener after learning about the couples’ money issues – in the middle of a precarious situation. Suspicions arise; motives are questioned. Unsure of whom she can trust, Katie must figure out what is actually going on.

What’s actually going on, though, is just incohesive and underwhelming. The film arrives at its illogical conclusion long after you have figured out who is behind the mischief. Along the way it doesn’t even try to make sense of several random developments and threads.

The basic premise may remind you of Knives Out but this movie is nothing like the Rian Johnson hit. There is nothing distinctive about Michael Scott’s direction; there is nothing impressive about the acting. The plot is uninspired; the writing is just plain bad. There is no suspense, and the film is so disengaging that even its major developments - deaths, murders – fail to generate an emotional response.

Illogical and incoherent, Dangerous Lies comes off like a made-for-TV movie that aims to do little beyond waste one and a half hours of your life. Netflix has such a vast, varied library that you’d be wise to give this poorly acted, poorly written mess a miss and watch something else instead.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

In the picture