Brilliant Lies

on July 11, 1997 by Stephenie Slahor
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It's Susan Connor (Gia Carides) versus Gary Fitzgerald (Anthony LaPaglia, Carides' co-star in Goldwyn's upcoming "Paperback Romance") in this intricate weaving of lies and truth in which Susan accuses ary of sexual harassment and unlawful termination from her job. Gary enies the claim, saying the firing resulted from Susan's dawdling work. It soon becomes clear that the case boils down to one person's word against another's, and "Brilliant Lies" takes the audience down every paths of belief and disbelief until it's impossible to know for ure who is lying and to what extent.
For example, Susan enlists the aid of her sister (Zoe Carides) as a corroborating witness, but in fact Susan never discussed with her her seven months of tenure. Gary gets some help from his boss (Neil Melville), but it turns out that the boss has witnessed at least one episode of harassing behavior by Gary. Caught in the middle is the case arbitrator (Catherine Wilkin) who, like the audience, tries to sort fact from fiction, reality from exaggeration. The case eventually goes to court, where yet another story emerges and, again, the audience is left wondering where truth lies. br>The intensity of being caught up in a battle of justice gives this film both its cohesion and its puzzling aspects. The two characters become more spiteful as the story continues (Carides and LaPaglia work to hilt to provide conniving nastiness) and so the audience might begin to hate both, but the tale of deception holds a fascination as it unfolds. Augmenting the enigma is an effective camera technique: There is no fadeout between scenes. Rather, the character on screen exits from the previous scene in a particular direction, then enters from that direction in the next. Graphic language is used throughout this adaptation of David Williamson's play, giving it a grating edge. Starring Gia Carides, Anthony LaPaglia, Zoe Carides and Ray Barrett. Directed by Richard Franklin. Written by Peter Fitzpatrick and Richard Franklin. Produced by Richard Franklin and Sue Farrelly. A Castle Hill release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 93 min
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