S.L.I.F.F. Review: ‘Yesterday Was a Lie’
There’s just something about a movie that’s so different and mysteriously odd that I just can’t refuse. ‘Yesterday Was a Lie’ is St. Louis native James Kerwin’s third film, and like his previous two, you better go see this during the festival because you ain’t gonna find it on DVD. In short, this film is like David Lynch’s Lost Highway meets X-Files paranormal psychology, shot as a film noir with some science-fiction added for flavor. Sound mind-boggling? Well, not really, but it will keep you thinking.
Hoyle (Kipleigh Brown) is a female detective who finds herself obsessively trying to track down a mysterious genius (John Newton) who she believes holds the answers to her questions. When she’s not tipping the whiskey, she struggles with a sense that something is not right in the universe. Enduring feelings of deja vu and disorientated moments of non-linear time, Hoyle slowly pieces together the truth of reality and the power to manipulate what we traditionally perceive as real time. Hoyle is guided through these revelations by a lounge singer, played by Chase Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
Characters in the film are reminiscent of of a style similar to David Lynch… odd, lurking and mysterious. I noticed throughout the film a certain sense of sarcasm, subtly poking at itself. The mood is dark and gritty but melodramatic at the same time. ‘Yesterday Was a Lie’ plays on the entire basket of film noir cliche’s, but does it effectively. On several occasions, I caught faint hints of a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. You really have to be “in the zone” to catch ’em though, because they’re down-played so much. For example, early in the film Hoyle and her partner (Mik Scriba) are entering a suspicious hallway filled with doors. Hoyle asks a man in the background which door to choose and he replies “the green one.” Hoyle gives her partner a subtle look and he replies with a descriptive direction. Of course she can’t determine which door is green when her world is in black and white! It’s moments like these that offer the film buffs in the crowd a tiny little moment of comic relief… a sort of inside joke, if you will.
The cinematography is shot in black and white, but has been done so with the lighting in mind. There’s nothing worse than when someone makes a film they call a film noir, simply because its in black and white. True film noir must include the heavily contrasted, beautifully strategic lighting that becomes its own character. ‘Yesterday Was a Lie’ does this very well, despite the technological setbacks of the digital medium. Kerwin also does a remarkable job with the score, which truly stands out in creating the mood of the individual scenes. The film isn’t perfect, but it certainly isn’t boring. Keep you’re head in the game on this one and stick it out and I promise you won’t regret it.
[Overall: 3.75 stars out of 5]
Festival Screening Date: Saturday, November 22 @ 9:30pm (Webster U.)