Shadows and Lies
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"Shadows and Lies" is admirable for what it sets out to achieve. Unfortunately the film is so lackluster and ultimately misguided that any positive intent is completely muddled. The film tries to be a study in existentialism and noir sensibilities (note: there is no such thing as neo-noir, but many will use the term to describe "Shadows and Lies"). Writer/Director Jay Anania tries to shape a story around the theory of "meaninglessness" (that each person, alone, is only able determine the meaning of something, thus everything is essentially without meaning) but walks away with nothing (no catharsis, no after thoughts, no real stance on the theory). Normally, with films about these subjects, one needs to have a palpable sense of internal struggle, but James Franco and Julianne Nicholson (two actors whom are normally very good) deliver extremely flat performances. The film may have an okay atmosphere at times and the confused narrator who shifts from nature videos into the narrative film and back again is intriguing, but "Shadows and Lies" is mostly a large waste of time that borders on bad film school quality.
- stevenecarrier, Sunday, June 12, 2011