A nervous, randy young painter’s overactive imagination gets the better of him in the poorly judged “Lie,” based on Javier Avila’s novel “Differente,” a project left cooking on the burner too long by director Rafi Mercado and writer Jose Ignacio Valenzuela. The psychological drama’s conceit is evident for all but clueless viewers, telegraphing the third act twist and draining the pic of any impact. Puerto Rico made the film its foreign language Oscar submission, but this momentary spotlight will fade quickly.
Burdened by regular nightmares, artist and vidstore clerk Henry (Oscar Guerrero) is drawn to sexy customer Paula (Mariana Santangelo), who oozes such a vixen vibe that Henry instantly gives in to her seductive powers. After an erotic (but not terribly explicit) tryst, Henry gets tangled up with the highly suspicious and needling Diff (Frank Perozo), who rescues him from muggers and then extracts dangerous favors in return. Paula’s recent issues with her lesbian past should theoretically add another dimension to the narrative, but here only muddies the waters. Guerrero isn’t up to the task of handling his character’s internal complexities.