Directed by: Todd Theman
Written by: Todd Theman
Starring: Stephanie Lynn, Nick Ballard, Todd Theman, Casey O'Keefe, Scott Speiser
Filmmaker Todd Theman writes, directs and stars in Little Black Lie, a drama film that focuses on an act of infidelity and the effects and consequences that it has on the people involved.
Ethan (Theman) and Bobby (Scott Speiser) are two friends who are in a bar for a night out. They spot two women coming in and decide to approach them and have a chat. The two women are Rachel (Stephanie Lynn) and Suze (Casey O'Keefe). Ethan manages to charm Rachel and convinces her to go to a party in a house with him. There they take drugs and have consensual intercourse. The next morning Rachel returns home, accidentally leaving her engagement ring behind and tells her fiancé Jake (Nick Ballard) that she was raped and that her ring was taken. Meanwhile Ethan finds her ring and puts it on a website for missing rings. Rachel discovers the site and contacts Ethan. They meet and he returns the ring and they begin an affair.
Theman has clearly worked hard to create a well-structured screenplay that includes interesting characters and a plot the viewer will want to follow. The scenes, dialogue and revelations that take place in the narrative are well thought through and they effectively move the plot forward and built up towards the devastating ending. As the story progresses, so does the tension and the audience will be intrigued and in suspense right until the end.
Theman himself delivers a believable performance as the charismatic, talkative and optimistic Ethan. Lynn is outstanding as the cheating fiancée Rachel, who is cheerful when she is with Ethan and quite a different person with Jake, as she shouts and cries in his face. Ballard plays the character that goes through the most significant character development through the film, as he changes from a successful, happy, soon-to-be-married guy to a distressed, vengeful man, obsessed with finding the culprit who raped Rachel. Ballard portrays a man who is about to snap and he depicts this transformation very convincingly.
Editor Collin Crawford has done a brilliant job with this project. He uses many interesting techniques that make the scenes look very appealing. Among the techniques he uses are jump cuts, fast cutting, voice-over, parallel editing and split screen, all of which are effectively placed into the film. Some sequences worth mentioning are when the split screen is applied. Crawford makes great use of this technique in order to create beautiful scenes of people communicating via e-mail and doing other everyday activities. And with the addition of Jason Pelsey's remarkable piano score, which plays throughout the film, the scenes become even more powerful.
The end credits are also quite clever as they are constructed as if they are just then being typed on a black screen and the sound of typing is even being heard. This is an obvious reference to the many scenes in the film where characters are using a computer of phone.
Little Black Lie is definitely worth a great deal of praise. The performances and editing are impressive, the script is very engaging and the music is dramatic and evocative. A very impressive achievement.