White Lie is an intricate character study that racks up the tension as we follow a character getting further backed into a corner because of her actions. Rife with terrific performances, Kacey Rohl is breath-taking as the complex Katie.
Katie (Kacey Rohl) is a college student suffering from cancer and has become a popular presence on campus due to her battle with the deadly disease. The only problem is that Katie has been faking it the entire time. Donations from other students and a Kickstarter campaign helps Katie cover her living and college fee costs. Using all of her funds to keep the ruse going, such as buying placebos and the like.
When her school requires her to provide her medical records to obtain the funding she needs to continue her study. Running out of avenues, to go down Katie begins to take drastic actions to keep the ruse going. There will be fewer films that document a characters willingness to keep to the bit than White Lie. We have a character who will scratch, crawl and cry her way to get her way and to have people side with her. As horrifying as she is, you almost, almost fall for it yourself. There is something deeply wrong with Katie for her to go to the lengths that she does, and knowing the fact that she has lied before to get ahead only deepens the complexity of this character.
At what point does the audience believe something that she says about her past? She could very well be telling the truth about something, but the sheer amount of lies and deceit she has conjured up thus far makes it almost impossible to wade throw and find. That is something that rings through Rohl’s performance as Katie. She is so broken to go down this route that although you are angry at her for what she is doing. You are filled with sympathy for her. Why does she have to do this? What went wrong in her life? She wants this sympathy though and by that point, she like the film itself has you in the palm of its hand.
Writer Directors Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas have created a wonderful film here and the decision to continually creep in on Katie no matter where she is is inspired. Katie knows that at some point, this could end terribly and is almost in constant suspicion of everyone around her. So the camera moves ever so slowly in on her. Her world and circle of trust ever evaporating. There is a tension here on par with Uncut Gems where we simply do not know how far Katie is going to go and where that is going to go as with each step she sinks deeper into the lie.
This filmmaking duo leads us grimly down into the tunnel of her lies that you begin to squirm. Wanting not only for us to get out, but to somehow get everyone out of this situation, yet, deeper we go. Exceptional stuff. The cold Ontario setting also reels the audience into the cold harsh reality of the situation, with seemingly no warmth available to Katie other than from her girlfriend Jennifer.
Not content with having this plot point presented, Lewis and Thomas also direct our attention to the good and the bad of social media when Katie needs the attention it is a constant growth of kind thoughts, connections and money. But when it turns as it inevitably does, this device that brought her so much content becomes her greatest foe. It is very hard to escape the internet when you have been caught out doing something wrong.
Make no mistake this is Kacey Rohl’s show. She is exceptional here as she stuns other characters and the audience in her performance. Playing a character who could not be any more backed into a corner if the film tried. She could be presented and seen as this horrible irredeemable person. But, as mentioned, she is given room to breathe and allowed to show there is more to her and that is down to Rohl. You believe her, far more than you ever want to. This is a difficult balancing act and her subtle actions throughout and she compliments the script so well, a remarkable portrayal.
White Lie is an absolute must watch and a handy reminder that not only is everything you read on the internet not real but the person constructing the lies may be more complex than you give them credit for. A tense filled joy.
Rock Salt Releasing has released ‘White Lie’ on various digital streaming platforms.
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