Review: Lies Inc.

Norway’s second science fiction movie ever, at least by traditional genre definitions. Lies Inc. was independently made on a very low budget, by amateurs, students and volunteers. Nevertheless, a very interesting attempt by a team of young Norwegian movie creators.

The story in Lies Inc. is kept in a narrow environment, both physically speaking and in terms of characters. Basically, we’re placed in Amber City (filmed in Oslo, Norway) sometime in the not too distant future, after the traditional “great war”. The Earth has 150 billion inhabitants, lethal nuclear pollution is widespread and local wars are still ongoing. Our main character is a young woman who is given an assignment by a major corporation. Even though she is an android, her feelings get in the way for her job, and she starts to question the system under which she works. In terms of story, the movie has hints and traces of classic movies such as Blade Runner, THX 1138 and Robocop, though I don’t really want to compare it to those.

It soon becomes clear that Lies. Inc is a typical anti-establishment film. It tries to critizise, or maybe just show us, how our lives are controlled by huge corporations that are using the media and internet to brainwash us, the consumers. Not exactly a new idea, it’s at least 40 years old in sci-fi films. And it’s not done with new angles either. But it’s done with charm. Low-budget charm, obviosuly, and it’s fun in a homemade way. For example, using techniques rather than hardware, Lies. Inc manages to create a somewhat believable image of a future city and world. Carefully selected locations, editing and characters are combined to present a futuristic environment that is credible enough.

Just so there is absolutely no misunderstandings about it; Lies. Inc is a superlowbudget film. That shows in all aspects, except maybe in the efforts by the actors. They are by no means fantastic thespians, but they are not the typically wooden actors you have in many Norwegian films, since they are mostly a young cast. A couple of older, well known actors were brought in for a few key scenes, to give power to characters young actors could not have played. You know, the corporate world-ruling type of character. By the way, it’s very weird to watch a Norwegian movie where everyone speaks English. Did the producers aim to use the film as a Hollywood callingcard? Or is it so that everyone speaks English in the future anyway?

I am mostly satisfied with this film, which by alls means is a positive surprise if you can accept the low budget style. On the negative side, there’s a couple of points to be made, though. There is one scene where the android girl fights her way out of trouble, and that was a simple and quite stupid way to solve the problem. It’s a story thing, and the “weapon” should have been rewritten completely. The Matrix-like ending is a little too pretentious for this movie as well. It feels tacked on, not in sync and not in flow with the movie. The whole movie is a little more intellectual and high-brow in its dialogue than your average “space opera with laser guns” adventure, so you have put down the popcorn and pay attention. Compared to major sci-fi blockbusters, this movie would get a 1 rating, but just like you have different expectations and requirements for a cheap old Toyota compared to a shiny new Mercedes, Lies Inc. plays in in a different league, and comes out in its league with head above water.

Oh, and a warning! This sci-fi film contains frontal nudity, male and female!

Note; this is not an adaption of the Philip K. Dick book of the same name.

Rated 6 of 10.

Director: César Ducasse
Norway, 2004