Movie Reviews

White Lies Review: A South African Murder Mystery Series

Right from the start, the peculiar closeness between the siblings was evident, with their bond appearing unconventional.

white lies review xx jpg
'White Lies' cover [PHOTO CREDIT: IMDb]

This White Lies review is our attempt to unveil the intriguing world of ‘white lies’ in the South African murder mystery series. In the realm of murder mystery series, anticipation brews for intriguing plot twists, complex characters harbouring hidden motives, suspenseful moments, and the ultimate challenge of outsmarting detectives to solve the crime. Does the South African mini-series ‘White Lies’ embody all these elements? The answer is a resounding yes.

Created by Sean Steinberg and co-directed by John Trengove, Thati Pele, Catharine Cooke, and Christiaan Olwagen, ‘White Lies‘ unfolds the tale of investigative journalist Edie Hansen locked in a battle of wits with seasoned detective Forty Bell. Following the murder of her estranged brother and his wife Andrew and Oliver McKenzie in their opulent Bishopscourt estate in Cape Town, South Africa, Edie finds herself plunged into a labyrinth of secrecy, doubts, and unanswered questions.

Plot

The initial glimpse into the world of ‘White Lies’ captivates with its Luxury and serene setting in the Bishopscourt estate. Populated predominantly by affluent white families, contrasted with a significant presence of black domestic staff, the scene sets the stage for what initially appears to be an idyllic evening for Andrew McKenzie. However, this tranquillity is shattered by a tragic murder, plunging everyone into suspicion and transforming the atmosphere into one of intrigue and uncertainty.

Watching ‘White Lies’ prompts viewers to question the loyalty and innocence of every character, leaving them suspecting each individual as a potential murderer. With each layer of the series revealing new twists and turns, it’s easy to become engulfed in the complexity of the story. Fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ would undoubtedly find joy in seeing Natalie Dormer take on the lead role, especially as the second scene unveils a pivotal moment for her character, Edie Hanson. Portrayed by Natalie, Edie is an investigative journalist known for her unwavering determination to uncover the truth, meticulously scrutinizing every detail of each case she handles. What initially seemed like a challenging day for Edie quickly spirals into a nightmare when she receives a call informing her of her estranged brother’s murder, a sibling with whom she had severed ties for several years.

As a result, Edie immediately heads to the crime scene to gain insight into what truly transpired. However, her arrival coincides with the presence of Detective Forty Bell, with whom she shares a strained history stemming from a past dispute over a previous case. In that instance, Edie publicly criticized Forty for his failure to uncover crucial evidence, resulting in his demotion. Understandably, Forty harbours resentment towards Edie upon realizing they must collaborate on the current investigation. Despite their initial animosity, their relationship evolves into a remarkable tale of loyalty and friendship.

white lies series
A scene from ‘White Lies’ [PHOTO CREDIT: DSTV]

Edie and Forty’s initial conflict in this new case stemmed from Forty’s suspicion of Daniel McKenzie, the eldest son of the McKenzie family, as the prime murder suspect. Determined to prove Daniel’s innocence, Edie embarks on a quest to uncover the truth, involving various individuals such as the McKenzies’ domestic staff, neighbours, and other potential suspects. Each suspect provides alibis and implicates others, leading to a tangled web of accusations and motives.

Unexpectedly, a major plot twist emerges when it is revealed that Daniel McKenzie, Forty’s primary suspect, is Edie’s biological son. Edie had entrusted her son to her elder brother Andrew for upbringing, unwilling to assume the responsibilities of motherhood. This revelation adds a new layer of complexity to the investigation, blurring the lines between personal and professional motivations.

Right from the start, the peculiar closeness between the siblings was evident, with their bond appearing unconventional. Therefore, when it was unveiled that they were engaged in a sexual relationship, it didn’t come as a complete shock.

While some character deaths may have felt unnecessary, the Bishopscourt security guard’s suicide gains clarity when he confesses to Edie about his involvement in Andrew McKenzie’s death. Just as viewers may think the twists are over, another bombshell is dropped: Jamie’s role in her mother’s demise. Olivia’s discovery of Jamie’s and her brother’s forbidden affair leads to a desperate attempt to end it, prompting Jamie to take extreme measures to maintain their relationship, resulting in a final, unexpected revelation.

‘White Lies’ captivates viewers, keeping them glued to the screen with its plethora of plot twists. However, some of these twists could have been streamlined to shorten the overall length of the series. Nevertheless, given the intricacies of the storytelling, it’s understandable why the creators opted for a series format. The inclusion of nudity and sex scenes, while not entirely necessary, could be seen as distracting from the suspense inherent in the series. Despite this, the overall production of ‘White Lies’ is commendable. For fans of murder mysteries and crime thrillers, it remains a solid choice.

Cast

Initially, one may cast doubt on the Quality of South African murder mystery films. However, ‘White Lies’ swiftly dispels such scepticism, demonstrating Africa’s prowess in crafting captivating stories. This accomplishment is largely credited to the outstanding performances delivered by the entire cast.

Natalie Dormer delivers an exceptional performance, defying expectations set by her previous role in ‘Game of Thrones.’ Despite any preconceptions, Natalie impressively breathes life into her character as Edie Hanson, surpassing anticipated limitations and leaving a lasting impact.

white lies review
A scene from ‘White Lies’ [PHOTO CREDIT: SAPeople]

Morgan Santo and Daniel Schultz deliver another outstanding performance, effortlessly conveying the authenticity of their bond and chemistry as they embody the roles of Jamie and Daniel. 

Additionally, Brendon Daniels and a talented ensemble of actors like Athenkosi Mfamela as Peri Zondo, Katlego Lebogang as Nonzi Weber, and Daniah De Villiers as Chloe excel in breathing life into their respective characters, contributing to the overall immersive experience of the series.

Language

While the series exudes a distinct Hollywood vibe, the incorporation of South African traditional language adds an authentic and original flair, reminding viewers of the unique cultural identity and authenticity embedded within the narrative

‘White Lies’ captivates audiences with its gripping storyline, compelling performances, and unexpected twists. While some may argue that certain plot elements could have been condensed to enhance pacing, the series remains a commendable addition to the murder mystery genre. For aficionados of crime thrillers and murder mysteries, ‘White Lies’ offers a tantalizing journey into the heart of intrigue and deception.

white lies review
6.2
Review Overview
Summary

For aficionados of crime thrillers and murder mysteries, ‘White Lies’ offers a tantalizing journey into the heart of intrigue and deception.

  • Costumes 6
  • Casting 7
  • Plot 6
  • Setting 6
  • Story6
Watch 'White Lies' On M-Net

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