To celebrate Throwback Thursday, it was decided that a film review of an “older” feature would be a great way to honor this day of the week, so the 2008 movie Yesterday was a Lie was pulled out of the archives. This neo-noir “science fiction” piece set against a backdrop of 1930’s big city crime makes the film perfect for this type of review. The feature may be small budget, but it has big ideas.
Yesterday Was a Lie was written and directed by James Kerwin (The Garden, Star Trek Continues, R.U.R.: Genesis) and stars Kipleigh Brown as Hoyle, Chase Masterson as “the singer” and Peter Mayhew as “Dead Man,” Mik Scriba as “Trench Coat Man” and John Newton as Dudas. The film has been described as Drama, Mystery and Neo-Noir.
The award winning feature is an amalgamation of genres. Noir describes it best and the prefix of neo certainly fits the style of this brainy thriller. On the film’s release, major critics panned the film for its acting and storyline, but praised the high definition black and white cinematography of the movie.
The film’s plot concerns a female detective who has a fondness for alcohol who finds herself caught up in a surrealistic experience of multiple timelines, a fractured reality and time sequences that repeat themselves. While many have described the main plot device being her search for Dudas (John Newton) that is a misdirection as she is looking instead for a notebook.
The book is said to explain just how to manipulate time. This time theme made Yesterday Was a Lie the perfect film to revisit for a throwback Thursday review. What is interesting to note, is that the mainstream critics failed to “get” this small budget film at all. It was only the “fringe’ film reviewers who were able to see the movie for what it was.
Hoyle’s disjointed journey through the film follows that dream logic, which, if taking into account the “fact” that people dream in black and white (which the mind later “fills-in” with color) means that this could all be a dream. If so, then this recounting of her search also supports the film’s theme of multiple, timelines that all exist at the same time. Certain experts have argued over the years that dreams are visions of alternative lives and timelines of the dreamer.
The singer in the film (played wonderfully by Chase Madison who has a “lovely set of pipes”) appears to be an extension of Hoyle. In one scene, at an art exhibit, the two women are dressed identically, right down to the amount of cleavage on show and their hair styles. It seems pretty obvious at that point that the two women are the same person.
Kipleigh Brown does a great job as the main protagonist. Her portrayal of Hoyle again follows that dream logic that is to be expected. Fans of the video game Silent Hill 2 will remember that the main character in the game, James Sunderland, also had a similar method of delivering his lines, thus reinforcing the feeling that he was, or felt he was, dreaming. A feeling that Hoyle would have to be going through under the circumstances.
The references in the film to T.S. Eliot and Salvador Dali emphasize the surrealness of the plot. Another thing that enhances the dreamlike quality of the film, is how the characters can spout off huge amounts of lines that deal with physics and the idea of parallel timelines. They also make these declarations sound interesting enough that the viewer is not put off.
While the film has a minimal amount of violence and nothing in the way of sex and nudity, it is, nonetheless compelling to watch. James Kerwin does great job of keeping the audience interested in the proceedings and the actors all perform their parts convincingly.
Yesterday Was a Lie is the perfect film to review on a throwback Thursday. As a neo-noir thriller it works very well with cinematography that shines and a premise that intrigues. The film is available for purchase from Amazon.com.
By Michael Smith
Yesterday Was A Lie DVD