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Review: (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies

(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies by first-time director Yael Melamede seems to use an equation that should not amount to much and spin in into something else. Take a cyclist, an NBA referee, a bored Florida housewife and an assistant to Tucker Max, place them on screen and what do you get?

In the case of (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies, the sum total is that it takes these self-professed liars and has them recount their tale of lying. While this style may seem to make the project seem quite serious, it actually moves along rather breezily, thanks in large part to the inclusion of Duke professor Dan Ariely. His presentation may be to an audience, but he is clearly informing the audience about certain facts about lies.

But the most interesting aspect of the film, at least in this reviewers opinion, is that many of the liars, the cheats and people “coming clean” still seem to shift the blame, and not truly speak honestly about what did them in. With a few exceptions, most of the participants still seem to be dishonest about what they did, (or are continuing to do), which suggests that the lying that takes place is not plateauing, but maybe even increasing. The damage may in fact by irreparable and that certain people are predisposed to lying and cannot stop.

What would be interesting is to see the reactions of the participants to the film, both to their own tales of woe, and to others.

It would have also been nice to be seen, aside from a single anecdote from an Israeli author, an example of how lying goes unpunished, or to go even further, how lying leads to more productive ends. The onus seems to be on ending the cycle of lies, but truthfully, that approach feels a little bit dishonest.

(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies has a certain cultural sensibility to it, and while perhaps a little reliant on talking heads staring directly into the camera, the film accomplishes a goal of any effective documentary, it makes the audience members go “hmmmm” and starts the conversation.

Whether it is an honest conversation is to discretion of the individual watcher.

[star v=35]