We usually think of Gabriel Byrne on screen as the man in charge, often a teacher or intellectual, sometimes a smart bad guy. Occasionally, he takes on the role of someone challenged by life. A regular Joe who has suffered and survived. Lies We Tell is one of those occasions.
Gabriel plays Donald, the loyal-to-a-fault chauffeur for Harvey Keitel’s billionaire playboy. Donald does as he’s told, takes naps when he can, and waits. When the death of his boss forces him to play clean-up, he does so, without question. What he finds as he takes care of his philandering employer’s mess drops him in the middle of a culture clash he never anticipated and can barely comprehend. Donald seems an unlikely knight, but he meets the challenge of Amber, the damsel in distress, played with intelligence and spirit by Australian actress Sibylla Deen, with empathy and a steady hand.
She opens the door to a world he has never experienced: religious and cultural differences, rampant sexism, drugs and hooligans, and violence, much of it implied, but scary nonetheless. With Amber as the catalyst, Donald is forced to try to understand the motives of strangers and to act in ways he never expected–and that’s the truth of the film. Being caught in the crossfire, no matter which “side” you are on, is dangerous. And in this case, there is more than personal happiness at stake.
Lies We Tell has a “ripped from the headlines” feel, and rightly so. The latest headlines are filled with international conflict, accusations across borders, and burgeoning xenophobia and religious intolerance. The film gives us the same in microcosm, with two women’s lives on the line. Can Donald move out of the crossfire and help Amber do the same?
Gabriel Byrne portrays Donald with a stoic calm, a rather good Midlands English accent, and a slightly quizzical demeanor. As the drama plays out, his fatherly concern asserts itself in some wonderful scenes with Sibylla Deen as Amber, who is both strong and vulnerable. We learn more about Donald through his brother, played with staunch realism by Mark Addy, and we see Donald beginning to recognize his own strength of will. It’s a grounded and complex portrayal by Gabriel, in an unusual choice of characters, and the closing minutes of the film really allow him to show his acting mettle.
The Lies We Tell Mega Movie Page brings together a ton of material related to this film: promotional images, posters, trailers, screencaps, behind the scenes shots, interviews, and some surprises. We watched this film being made, then heading off to film festivals, and finally premiering in England. It was a fun and inspiring experience and now you get to experience it all, too. Check out the page and enjoy!