Another grand addition to the Traditional Brit Flick stable, Murder , Intrigue, Deception, Drama and a Twist-y Turn-y plot that will leave you wondering “Who can you trust when the truth is buried in A Landscape of Lies!!!”
Director: Paul Knight
Writer: Paul Knight
Cast: Andrea McLean, Danny Midwinter, Andre Nightingale, Philip Brodie
A London Knights Production
In a sea of the “Gritty Brit flicks” half the battle can often be finding one that first of all grabs your attention but once they have it they can keep it. A Landscape of Lies on paper sounds right up my Sesame (Street, bit of rhyming for you there). It’s British, it’s fairly low budget and the cast is a veritable smorgasbord of “hey, that’s him from that other movie I liked” or “oh crap, its her… nice”. This is where I always find the Indie Movie can live or die because the performances can go one of two ways…
- The Actors in question can pull off some great performances… (Danny Midwinter I’m looking at you)
- Or the they end up on the wrong side of believable. (We never get to this level by the way, everyone is gold)
A Landscape of Lies is a 2011 movie that only ever played in about 3 festivals through 2012 and has waited till 2018 to release the Never Before Seen Directors Cut in all its glory… Let me tell you good people director Paul Knight is not messing about.
Time for the Pitch:
The movie centers around 4 main characters whose lives will all intersect in one way or another around the over arching story of the death of a Gulf War veteran and a dispute over a plot of land. We open the movie being introduced to Branningan Woods (Danny Midwinter, Human Traffic) who we find to be a bit of a psycho from word one (Word of advice people, laugh at this guys jokes even if they are pants). Cut to Jacob (Andre Nightingale, Decline of an Empire) a Gulf War Vet struggling to cope with PTSD and Gulf War flashbacks. His only real grasp of control being his friendship with his Ex commanding officer Hilt McAvoy (Marc Bannerman, Gianni from Eatenders “whoohoo”) Hilt is looking for a little bit of help from his old pal in the form of an alibi to his missus.
Marcus Clancy (Philip Brodie, Dream Team and Unlocked) is a Property Developer whose recent dealings with Branningan are causing a great deal of stress and strain on his marriage leading the couple to take up counseling, which brings us to Dr. Audrey Grey (Andrea Mclean, ITVs Loose Women) who is clearly having a time of it keeping herself together, relying on her ditzy receptionist Suzy to keep her in check.
So yeah that’s the characters and some of there motivations. When the body of Hilt McAvoy turns up on an empty plot of land we are thrust into the movie proper. Jacob suspects after a little bit of snooping that Brannigan is somehow behind the act and feels he owes it to his friend to get to the bottom of it, ending up undercover in his employ. It turns out the plot of land is the same plot that Marcus and Brannigan are arguing over and the villain is going to use Marcus’s marital problems to put the screws on him by even using there counselor. Of course we have the well meaning police on the case aswell.
I really don’t want to go too far into the plot and feel like I may have given you more than enough to get you interested so ill move on to the performances because oh my days we have some belters here. Across the board just about everyone is great however Danny Midwinter is an absolute Powerhouse, hitting that oh so difficult sweet spot of being a believable psycho but also a broken soul… I loved this performance and was surprised to see he had to fight for the part. Considering this is Andrea Mcleans first proper full feature she more than holds her own and puts in a great role, i’m personally used to seeing her host daytime TV talking about feelings and things so to see her portraying this type of Strong, Damaged and intriguing role was jarring at first but she sold it.
Special mention goes to Victoria Hopkins as Tess who for me (as good as everyone was) stole her scenes, an absolute dynamite performance. I get the feeling we should be looking out for Andre Nightingale because this was not the easiest role to pull off. Rounding out the cast of supporters we had people like Marc Bannerman who is always good and Anna Passey, honestly though great performances all round.
As you can probably tell this is a solid recommend from me… My only real criticism if I had to nit pick is that there are places that the movie looks like it was shot back in 2011 but you cant let that sway anything because the performances are there, the story is intriguing and it moves at a fairly rapid pace giving you no chance to lose interest. Paul Knight has done a very good job here, making some interesting choices along the way with casting, editing and other aspects like the Gulf War scenes and to think he did it all on an 84k budget (16k under the original budget) … They all pay off and make for a movie that I feel should have made its bones already instead of 7 years later coming to market. However I’m happy we are getting it because for me this is a bit of a low budget gem. You all know I love me a low budget gem.
Good luck to the team both in front and behind the camera at the Out of the Can Film festival who have been chosen as finalists in numerous categories including Best Film, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress & Soundtrack.
Someone do me a favor and make the documentary of getting this movie out there because that sounds bloody interesting in itself (Turns out there is one, I’m off to find it).