Lipstick Lies (2012) – By Philip Smolen

Allie (Samantha Rivers Cole) is totally in love. She’s on her honeymoon with her new husband, William (Matthew Krob). They’re enjoying the sights in the Aloha State and are having the time of their lives. They share so much together including a love of animals and Oscar Wilde. Nothing could possibly go wrong; until the morning that Allie wakes up and finds that she’s alone and back in cold, snowy New York. She can’t find William anywhere and she also can’t find her wedding ring. Everyone tells her that she’s been imagining everything. She’s never been married and she never dated a man named William. But Allie doesn’t believe that’s possible. The feelings and memories she has of William and their relationship are just too strong to be fabricated. So Allie sets out to find out whether William really exists. And if he is real, does he remember her or is he just a figment of her imagination?

“Lipstick Lies” is an intriguing sci-fi short from experimental filmmaker Eric Norcross. It plays very much like a classic “Twilight Zone” episode, where one person’s memory of a specific event doesn’t match everyone else’s. Is the person a lunatic or is there a more sinister reason behind this puzzling disappearance? Can memories become reality? Norcross also explores the themes of destiny and providence. If Allie and William were together before (or perhaps in another life), can they be together again? The film is intelligent and well thought out and kept me involved throughout. It also benefits from good performances from Cole and Krob who make a physically appealing couple.

But I still wish the film engaged me more on an emotional level. While I was interested and curious about Allie’s plight, I wanted to feel more of her fear and her rising levels of anxiety and paranoia as she searches for William. To his credit Norcross does not go for the obvious or the maudlin. He has Allie thinking with her head throughout, but some of these search scenes are presented too matter of factly. There’s even an awkward scene where Allie meets a private investigator out on a pier, where the investigator is dressed in a clichéd trench coat and pork pie hat.

While the photography is very good, the movie’s too brightly lit and the sound at times is too resonant which sometimes gives the film too much of a home movie feel. More nuanced shadings and shadows would bring out its noirish elements and give it a stronger emotional core. This film should be even more ominous than it is. It is also partially let down by Omer Ben-Zvi’s music score, which is engaging for only about half of the movie.

“Lipstick Lies” is still a good mystery and is appealing and fun. Norcross has made a film that keeps one guessing. There are a lot of things to like about this movie, but I wanted to like it a lot more.

“Lipstick Lies” will be screened at the Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival in Brooklyn, New York on December 9, 2012. For more information on “Lipstick Lies”, please visit: www.NorcrossMedia.com