Layers of Lies

Layers of Lies
Layers of Lies
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Firefighters save people’s lives everyday by entering burning buildings; but now, in the middle of fire, a fireman is called to the centre of crime where a person is about to be shot dead. This occurs during the first sequence of Ramin (also an actor) Sohrab’s 2022 movie titled Layers of Lies which happens to be an Iranian-Finnish action film.

Inflamed and with no reaction from the shooter, Sam makes one decision that turns out to be the beginning point of this ten-year-old movie. The chaotic opening minutes serve as a great appetizer for what is to come in terms of intensity in this one-and-a-half-hour flick. The fires are real (not CGI). Oxygen masks are deployed correctly and camerawork does not shy away from getting up close with danger being presented. But in order to maintain this fast pace that is common with such films, there comes an imbalance between arriving at heart-stopping moments and untangling Sam’s own backstory.

Having received a fat check from the victim, Sam goes off to Finland so he can find peace. While there he acquires large lakeside property and falls in love with Emma Kashani (played by Jessica Wolff). When we first see them together they are playfully fighting each other off. This training session does not logically transition into the brutal fighting style showcased later on by villains in this film.

Also, at start of Layers Of Lies we see Sam training himself (in short flashback), hitting punching bag with bloody fist. Since it took place before office building burned down audience assumes that inner frustration comes from fire he was involved when he was kid himself (which we learn about later). It never explicitly answers how or why martial arts becomes coping mechanism for his childhood trauma.

As title suggests, Layers Of Lies does good job keeping fog around true antagonist. Five years later after leaving Turkey receiving huge sums money victim paid him back then Sam goes back home in Tehran, Iran with Emma. But calamity strikes fast when his wife is kidnapped thus compelling him to go on thrilling suspenseful journey of finding her.

There is no doubt about commitment behind the numerous fight scenes while watching this movie of many twists and turns. The fights don’t only happen in simple back alleyway, mechanic’s garage or middle of dance floor but they also take advantage of their surroundings creatively. Sam sends an attacker into car repair pit; gets thrown into fruit stand during another scuffle and slides across polished floor in a millionaire club during swing-type dance mimicking brawl.

Sohrab is not only director, writer, lead actor as well executive producer for Layers Of Lies but he also performs his own stunts which are very much appreciated by viewers like you and me. Seamless fluidity of choreography feels similar to 2004 award-winning Ong Bak directed by Prachya Pinkaew.

While the romantic chemistry between Sam and Emma on-screen works fine, so do (once revealed) the motivations of the antagonist, but the tone gets disheveled at times. For instance, after fighting off many henchmen does Sam’s crusade end with a simple trip by which sends him comically falling down a set of stairs (from one of the last cronies)? One would think that someone who was dodging and swerving many oncoming attacks just a moment ago could have avoided such a move.

Awkward abruptnesses like the stair fight scene might evoke different reactions from audiences than were meant to be had. In another situation, when presumed main antagonist and his affiliates are shown to be watching from a balcony above as two assailants (a bit unconcernedly) attack him again before shot pans outwards showing this time why isn’t doing anything more to subdue Sam for that second there script knows what is going through its mind about the villain but leaves viewers scratching their heads over pause, and because of it momentary intrigue around supposed villain’s reveal is watered down.

As mentioned earlier, not only is Sam and Emma’s relationship the storytelling crux of Layers of Lies but it also becomes a powerful tether for the film’s climax. Using a high-rise building currently under construction as setting where main characters meet up with each other while trying save her from being killed by his wife’s captors sets things up nicely emotionally-speaking since everyone has been waiting anxiously for all these years ever since they first met back in those days when he was still firefighter haunted by mystery – which serves well enough what happens next should surprise no one really — if done right could make anyone cry buckets! Therefore, even though Ramin Sohrab may have slightly misjudged certain moments along way during his martial arts epic; nevertheless should not go without seeing conclusion seemed perfect stacked insurmountable odds against our hero and his crusade.

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