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Review: Dangerous Lies is a Major Disappointment

April 30, 2020
4 min read

The last time we saw an old man leave behind everything he owned to his good-hearted caretaker, it turned out to be one of the best movies of the year. Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out’ dazzled everyone with its all-star cast, a gripping plot, and a witty sense of humor, simmering with the nostalgia of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. It revived the splendor of a fading genre, and that gave us hope for the upcoming whodunits.

Netflix’s ‘Dangerous Lies’ shares the plot similarities of a wealthy old man and his poor caretaker, but that’s about it when it comes to comparing the two. This one lacks everything from which Johnson’s twisty tale benefitted. It lacks taste and direction, and worst of all, it does not have the thrill that murder mysteries usually need.

Dangerous Lies Plot

Katie wants to be a doctor, but for now, she is stuck as a caretaker for a man named Leonard. The reason is that she is supporting her husband, Adam, to get his career on track. Once that happens, she will be free to choose her own path. Or at least, that’s what the plan was. Right now, Adam is clueless about his life and career, and this has made things worse for the couple.

The only respite that Katie has is that, at least, her employer is a good man. In the four months that she works for him, she develops a good friendship with Leonard. He, too, takes a liking to her and even offers to help her with the money problems. She is reluctant to take his money, but she gets Adam to work on the house’s backyard so that they can make a little extra.

Everything goes smoothly for a while, and then Leonard suddenly gives in. It looks like he died in his sleep. Detective Chesler comes in to investigate the death, and it seems like an open and shut case, but there is something that she can’t put the finger on. Things further complicate when it comes to light that Leonard has left everything he owned, including the house, to Katie. When an old case gets the detective’s attention, she smells something fishy about the entire situation.

Dangerous Lies Review

There is nothing like watching a thriller. A good one keeps us on the edge of the seat, demands our participation in figuring out who the perpetrator is, leaves us dumb-founded with the twists in the story, and then some. ‘Dangerous Lies’ does nothing of that. For a murder mystery, which uses the familiar horror tropes like home invasions and a secretive house, there is absolutely no thrill in the entire film. In fact, the only time your heart races is when Katie gets a jump scare on a mousetrap, and that, too, is highly subjective.

To its credit, it looks like there was a decent story underneath, but it is buried too deep to flesh out either the mystery or the characters. Throughout the film, we get several pieces, either in the form of a stray incident or as suspicious characters. You try to keep track of everything and start building your own theories about what could be going on here. By the end of it, whatever you might have come up with will probably be better than the way the film ends.

Of all the puzzles thrown at us to crack the case, several turn redundant by the end. You wonder why this particular subplot was invested in when the time could have been used to focus on expanding the central story. One of the main criteria of creating suspense in a murder mystery is to create a cloud of distrust around all of its characters. It shouldn’t be until a good part of the film is over before you start getting some clarity about the motivations of the people involved in the case. ‘Dangerous Lies’, however, does not indulge in any of it.

I could go on and on about the many ways in which the film goes wrong and wastes the talent at its fore, but that will do nothing to subside the disappointment. The only thing that you need to know is that there is nothing dangerous about this film, and the lies are not really lies when you can see through them.

Rating: 1/5

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