"Just Lie To Me" Film Review

Just Lie to Me

Rating: 5/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    Just Lie to Me is perhaps one of the best short films I have seen this year so far. Taking course over a single, off-kilter night where a man named Noah (Ian McQuown) mistakes a bartender named Brooke (Kylie Alesso) for a sex worker, which she goes along with to help make some more money. It seems like such a good concept and plot for a short film, and Alesso (who also wrote the film) and director Kelly Walker do a fantastic job of translating it onto the screen. While it serves as a black comedy, it does a great job of commentating on experiences and feelings millions of people have felt before. Not only is the film enjoyable and fast-paced from beginning to end, but it simply can allow viewers to relate and empathize with these characters on a deep level. 

    The night that Brooke and Noah spend together should have been very easy and simple - Brooke is willing to have sex with this man for a thousand dollars, and then can leave the next morning and forget about the previous night. But, when Noah starts questioning whether or not he should go through with this, and with Brooke suspecting that he is clearly not over his ex and wondering if this is a bad idea as well, things take a turn for the worst. However, as the night starts to progress, they learn different things about one another, and wonder how it must be like in the other person's shoes. While it started off as a night that should have been practically a paid one night stand, it turns into so much more for both of them on an emotional level. 

    Now, this is the perfect example of a short film that works so damn well. I have seen numerous short films over the past few years, and even more when I started as a film critic. Many I have noticed have no real direction and spend a lot of their runtime with filler that leads to a rushed and unsatisfying ending. This is the exception, with a clear beginning, middle, and end that not only has a satisfying conclusion, but simply tells a compelling story the entire time. I enjoyed everything that Alesso and Walker did, and I think this short film works on every single level they wanted it to. The writing is comedic and deep on an emotional level, while the direction simply works for these two actors. This film is mainly a single scene that lasts for a major duration of the runtime, and it never feels slow or redundant. 

    Alesso and McQuown are perfect in these roles, and really seem like they fit the characters. While Im sure both of these performers are perhaps very different than the roles they played in the film, it seems like they had no issue stepping into the shoes of these characters and really give it their all here. But, the chemistry between them is perhaps the most important thing here, which these two have a lot of. They are electric together in their conversation throughout the night they spend together, and are hilarious together when they need to be. I would honestly watch a feature length film of these two in the exact same plot and setup as this short film. 

    I also want to applaud the filmmaking aspects of this film, including the cinematography by Jonathan Pears and the editing by Jonah Sublette. The entire film is very impressive and has such a professional aspect to it, from the great camera shots Pears gets (I think the tattoo scene in the first shot of the film is so beautifully done) to the seemingly effortless editing from Sublette. Like I mentioned before, some of these short films that come out seem very thrown together quickly and doesn't seem professional at all. This film is the exact opposite, and I can see this easily being a studio picture due to how well it was made. 

    Alesso and Walker really have something wonderful on their hands, and I think this short works perfectly on every aspect it needed to. I really think everyone needs to see this film, and for it to be used as a demonstration of how a short film should be made. I truly do think Alesso and everyone else in the production have a really long career in this industry, and I can't wait to see what is next for all of them after this.