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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.12.19] Canada thriller

Crowdfunding campaigns are everywhere and while it's nice to know that generosity isn't dead, I sometimes wonder how many of those campaigns are exaggerated or just plain fake.

Writer/directors Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas have obviously been contemplating that thought as well and their sophomore effort White Lie, explores what happens to a young woman's life when her illness is outed as a fake.

Kacey Rohl is spectacular as Katie, a popular, likeable dance student who has convinced nearly everyone that she's bravely fighting cancer. With the help of her girlfriend, she's launched a crowdfunding campaign and is preparing for a benefit performance that is supposed to be raising funds to send her for special experimental treatment in Seattle.

Lewis and Thomas showed great promise with their debut feature The Oxbow Cure (review), a movie that showed great promise but had little in the way of story. White Lie on the other hand, features everything one could want from a great film: an interesting story, high stakes, great filmmaking, and a star-making performance.

White Lie is, from the opening scene, a great work of storytelling. Lewis and Thomas dole out information with control which keeps the audience in the same boat as Katie's victims: constantly double-guessing what we're seeing and wondering if there's some legitimate explanation for Katie's actions. But from early on, there are hints that what Katie is doing is shady, though how shady isn't entirely obvious until very late in the film. This puts Rohl in an interesting situation in that she's always detached from the audience. For a while, I bought into her lie but as the story starts to unravel around her, White Lie turns from a drama about a girl telling a lie into a fascinating portrait of a psychopath.

More than just a fascinating thriller for our time, White Lie is a fantastic calling card for Lewis and Thomas who show that they can tell a story, not to mention a star-making performance for Kacey Rohl.

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