[Movie Review] Brilliant Lies

Brilliant LiesStarring: Anthony LaPaglia, Gia Carides, Zoe Carides, Catherine Wilkin, Neil Melville
Director: Richard Franklin
Genre: Drama
Cert: 15
Released: 1996

Suzy Connor (Gia Carides) is accusing her boss Gary Fitzgerald (LaPaglia) of sexual harrasment. Although Gary has had a few indiscretions in the past, he flatly denies the claims and is backed up by his boss, Vince (Melville). However, unless the company pay what Suzy is demanding, it will go to court and that is something that Fitzgerald cannot allow happen. Willing to settle out-of-court, he scoffs at her $40,000 demands and the pair go head-to-head to find out who is lying and who is telling the truth.

“Brilliant Lies” plays out like a stage play, heavy on characterisation and pretty much straight to the point. We see the main protagonists painted both black and white. We see Suzy as both the abused woman, and the drug-taking party girl. Gary is the suave womaniser and also a convincing protester of his innocence. On the periphary are chacters that are just as important to the story.

Vince seems to be standing by Gary’s side but Gary suspects that Vince does not believe him. Suzy’s feminist sister, Zoe, wants to believe her but refuses to lie for her. Both sisters are traumitised by their abusive father, Brian (Ray Barrett), and made feel guilty for their dislike for him by their brother, Paul (Michael Veitch), who is unaware of the abuse. In the middle of it all is the tribunal mediator, Marion Lee (Wilkin), who must balance the claims of each party.

The screenplay is not over-brimming with wonderful wit or insight, but it is competent. The two best known actors here are unsurprisingly the main two characters, but the support cast are by no means put to shame. While Zoe Carides and Michael Veitch give somewhat empty performances, Catherine Wilkin excels as the middle-person while Neil Melville is equally adept at portraying the business associate of LaPaglia. Special mention goes to Ray Barrett whose portrayal of failed businessman and groping father, Brian Connor, is so seedy and yet hilarious, that against your best wishes you can’t help but make him the man you love to hate.

By no means an authority on the subject, “Brilliant Lies” is however a watchable and entertaining look at the battle of the sexes.


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