Secrets and Lies – DVD Review

Thanks to Roadshow Entertainment, we had the chance to watch the superb thriller, Secrets and Lies, on DVD.

secrets-and-lies-image1On an early morning run, Ben Gunderlach (Martin Henderson) discovers the dead body of four-year-old Thom Murnane, and immediately becomes the prime suspect. In an effort to solve the mystery and clear his name, Ben makes it his mission to investigate the strange goings on in his seemingly ordinary Australian neighbourhood. Secrets and Lies is a gripping, six-part thriller/drama, set in beautiful, suburban Brisbane. From its intelligent, compelling script to its flawless casting, this is an absolute winner. Over a million viewers tuned in to Channel Ten to watch its debut and its success has spawned a U.S production (currently in the works.)

secrets-and-lies-image2I must confess that I enjoyed it so much that I watched the entire production twice; and on neither occasion did anyone in the room pick the perp. Headed by Martin Henderson (The Ring), the cast is among the finest I’ve seen on Australian television and includes Diana Glen (The Slap), Anthony Hayes (Devil’s Dust), Adrienne Pickering (Rake), Philippa Coulthard (Bikie Wars) and Damon Gameau (Puberty Blues). Adrienne Pickering is just phenomenal in her role as the deceased boy’s stricken mother, and Damon Gameau delivers a finely tuned performance as Ben’s slacker mate, Dave. Truthfully, most of the main roles are complex in their own right, and demand highly charged, yet authentic execution by the very able cast. That said, the dialogue is pitch-perfect: Stephen M Irwin has written a taut, clever script with believable and interesting characters. As actor Anthony Hayes mentions in one of the behind-the-scenes snippets, Brisbane itself provides the show with a unique character and feel of its own. Locals will be delighted by the familiar scenery and superb cinematography – a refreshing change from the usual backdrops of Sydney and Melbourne.

secrets and lies dvdIn an innovative model of DVD entertainment, the filmmakers have constructed an interactive experience, whereby viewers are provided with clues to help solve the murder mystery, as well as character profiles, lie-detector videos, original webisodes, and audiovisual hints for each episode. The intuitive menu allows viewers to control their experience and enjoy the thriller at their own pace. The release includes six episodes over three discs and runs to 262 minutes. I would recommend watching this with friends and/or family – it’s fun competing for the title of super-sleuth. Don’t be surprised if, like me, you find yourself watching the whole show in one extended sitting – it makes for seriously compulsive viewing. 72 minutes of bonus content is also included, featuring interviews and behind-the-scenes snippets.

Secrets and Lies is available now on DVD.