Dir: Clement Virgo. Can.2005. 92mins.

Graphic sex and a voracious, predatory femaleprotagonist are the hallmarks of Lie With Me, a raw perspective of carnality that's initiallydisarming in its aggressive stance and mesmerising inits heady resolve.

Belying thesensuality of The Lover or thegentleness of 9 Songs, it only beginsto falter when it abandons an anarchic spirit to rationalisecharacters as they begin to question what's motivated their lust.

But such sexualcandor rarely translates into significant commercial appeal and the film isunlikely to sustain beyond initial prurient interest.

Leila (Lauen Lee Smith) appears to have no other agenda thansexual conquest on her schedule. In vivid and profane language she narrates herintent and wanton desires as the camera prowls the streets, clubs and bedroomsof Toronto. It's a shocking yet enthralling journeyand one is curiously caught up in its ultimate destination.

The procession ofzipless encounters winds up in the embrace of anotherdenizen of the scene named David (Eric Balfour). He appears to be a kindredspirit who shares the young woman's appetite for adventure, intensity andnihilism.

There's a giddyquality to the proceedings, reinforced by a dispassionate, floating camera thatholds out the promise of an albeit crude, unbridledexperience. However, director Clement Virgo - adapting a novel with its authorTamara Faith Berger - seriously jumps the tracks when he begins to explore thebackgrounds of his central characters.

Leila comes froma middle-class family with inattentive parents about to divorce while David'sfather is an ageing, ailing hipster in need of constant attention. One can onlyconclude that he led a comparably indulgent past.

While neithersituation explicitly ties environment to motivation and character, the dramaticshorthand is all too familiar from countless moralisingtelevision movies. The paucity of novel observation stands in sharp contrast tothe edgy, inventive opening section and paves the way to a conclusion that's muchtoo neat and unconvincing.

Conquering Lion Pictures


Julia Rosenberg

Damon D'Oliveira
Clement Virgo

Tamara Faith Berger
Clement Virgo
from the novel by Berger

Barry Stone

Susan Maggi

Production design
Kathleen Climie

Byron Kent Wong

Main cast
Lauren Lee Smith
Eric Balfour
Polly Shannon
Don Francks