3.5 Stars
Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 75 minutes
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A San Francisco therapist unwittingly falls into a game of infidelity and attempted murder where each player tries to top the others’ lies.
Our lead, Theresa (Kasi Lemmons) is a psychotherapist who finds herself in therapy after becoming involved in a deceitful game of liars’ dice. What is liars’ dice, well I didn’t know either. It’s when five players each roll dice, keeping their numbers to themselves. Then the players must bluff each other into rolling again to beat them or call the other’s bluff. In the context of the film, the players are Theresa, her husband, Boyden (Yule Caise), her patient, Claire (Tricia Stewart), Claire’s husband, Hodge (Dean Norris) and Hodge’s mistress, Lynette (Kawena Charlot). The entire story is told through flashbacks during Theresa’s own therapy session, where most of the content comes from her sessions and conversations with the other four players. Confused yet? Well be prepared for enough plot twists and confusing story lines to make your head spin. Claire comes to Theresa with a story of trying to drown her baby in a swimming pool after discovering her husband’s affair with next door neighbor Lynette. Her husband comes to Theresa saying they don’t have a baby and that it was Claire who tried drowning herself. Next Lynette shows up to say that after finding Hodge and herself having sex, Claire tried drowning Hodge. Still with me? Eventually Theresa pieces everything together, finding out that Claire had an affair to get back at Hodge, only it was with Theresa’s husband, Boyden. By the way, Boyden is a political activist who sends out letter bombs to people who he feels has too many kids. They’re not very strong, just enough to char the recipients hands. Moving on, Theresa confronts Boyden and finds out more than she bargained for; thus throwing her in therapy. By the time we find out the “real” story, exhaustion has set in.
Liars’ Dice features competent filmmaking with strong performances from its cast. The plot is certainly very involved, at times a bit too involved. Director Brad Marshland is definitely not guilty of making a dull film.

Posted on October 11, 1999 in Reviews by

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