Little White Lies (UK - BD RB)
Marcus takes a French holiday with a group of friends who turn out to be liars..
A group of long time friends take their annual holiday, despite the fact close friend Ludo (Jean Dujardin) is in a very bad way in hospital after being hit by a truck. The group put their hospitalised friend to the back of their minds while they enjoy the sunshine and each other's company but the idyllic holiday uncovers a number of secrets and might not be enough to cover the cracks in the group’s friendships this year.
Little White Lies is the sort of story that TV thrives on, so seeing such a low key affair as a movie initially feels a little strange (even though it really shouldn't). Outside of the truly shocking bike crash at the end of the opening scene, there isn’t an obvious plot here beside this group of French friends going away together and us simply watching their interactions. There’s the odd flutter of underlining tension (Vincent (Benoit Magimel) tells long time friend and financier of the holiday, Max (Francois Cluzet) that he loves him just before the holiday for example – awkward) but really this quite long two and a half hour runtime is a slow burning insight into the group of friends' lives, histories and of course the secrets they don’t tell one another.
The cast are so strong here, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Each thread gets its own moment in the sun and each and every performance sells the turmoil perfectly as the story builds and the secrets start coming out. Again there’s not really any massive event that brings all this to a head, director Guillaume Canet, really lets the story unfold at its own pace and all of this is kept in a very genuine feeling French holiday with friends that would respect each others privacy as opposed to flying off the handle for the sake of movie drama. As I said at the beginning of this review, this is very much the fare for TV of late but having such a well presented drama given space to breathe in a movie really made Little White Lies shine.
The transfer here is a consistent, clean and very bright affair. Everything is very naturally lit, generating a genuine holiday feel and the warm sun makes everything look great, from skin tones, to textures and it really captures that pleasant summers day feel.
Darker scenes can lose the details in areas and in a handful of occasions the image gets a little murky but given the warmness of the villa where the majority of the night scenes take place, these lesser moments are few and far between and the friendly atmosphere of the friends is captured well with the warm lighting. This is by no means a striking transfer when lined up next to the best of the Blu-ray catalogue but it’s a bright and natural one with some stand out moments.
Really there’s nothing clever for the audio to do here. Literally the entire movie revolves around two elements. Dialogue and music. The dialogue is strong and is usually only accompanied by simple sound effects such as footsteps, clanking of cutlery or simple atmospheric sounds and the music, which the majority of is from classic American bands. It's usually the only thing that fills out the rear speakers and presents a crisp, full sound. Beyond that there’s nothing. This is a very simple track to go with the very simple set up of the story and while its pleasant, it’s not all that exciting.
The making of (25:20 SD) is a great insight into the film with the entire cast and the director telling us the story of how the film came together. The structure of the story is discussed and just how much information was required to get the point across. We also get to see the cast discussing their roles over dinner in advance of the shoot and the ideas behind making this a believable group of friends. All good stuff.
The ‘Gag Reel’ (05:51 SD) has a few genuine laughs here and there and the deleted scenes (54:13 SD) come with introductions from Guillaume Canet explaining why they were cut.
‘Summer Holidays’ (31:26 SD) is camcorder footage of the cast playing on and around the beach for footage that was used in the film as a previous group holiday and the ‘Surf Sequence’ (04:10 SD) is a brief look at the a surfing scene shot for the movie.
Little White Lies is a slow burning gem of a movie. It’s a balanced drama that's warm without being too funny and manages to bring the sadness without the weight of it overpowering the story. The characters here really do catch up with you and what initially feels like an exclusive holiday of friends soon welcomes you in with open arms. The transfer and audio do their jobs well without showing off and the extras are just about above average enough to make this a nice little package.
* Note: The below images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 22nd August 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 French
Extras: Making of, Gag Reel, Summer Holidays, Surf Scene, Deleted Scenes
Easter Egg: No
Director: Guillaume Canet
Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Benoît Magimel, Gilles Lellouche, Jean Dujardin, Laurent Lafitte, Valérie Bonneton, Pascale Arbillot
Length: 154 minutes
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