God’s Crooked Lines review – a patient thriller that rewards the viewer for their time

December 20, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service


God’s Crooked Lines is an extraordinarily patient psychological thriller that rewards the viewer for their time and dedication.

We review the Netflix film God’s Crooked Lines film, which does not contain spoilers.

God’s Crooked Lines is a bit of a chore and time commitment, considering the run time alone. That’s even if you’re a fan of sensationalized melodrama, which this film leans towards. While the script tends to steer away from more serious issues of how the medical community and ourselves view and treat mental health, there is much to like here in the Torcuato Luca de Tena adaptation, including a scintillating lead performance, a well-constructed script, and an overall tone that is not easy to shake.

God’s Crooked Lines review and plot summary

The title of God’s Crooked Lines refers to why a higher authority with so much power would draw the line at helping people with mental health issues in need of de Tena’s novel of the same name. The story follows Alice (Barabara Lennie), a private investigator who begins masquerading as a patient institutionalized in an asylum for attempting to poison her husband, Heliodoro (Pau and his Brother‘s David Selvas). Now, why would anyone do that? Look over the great (fictional) PIs of our time, like Hercule Poirot or Benoit Blanc. They don’t do it for the money or the fame but to seek the truth and bring justice to those who need it.

Alice’s mission is to investigate the death of Dr. Damian Garcia del Olmo’s (Lluís Soler) son, who committed suicide. The good doctor thinks there was a coverup. Alice even lies to her husband about her whereabouts, as del Olmo requested complete anonymity. Of course, a classic horror trope, when she enters, she gets more than she can handle, and the staff may be just as dangerous as their patients. The longer alive stays, the more others question her motives.

According to Alice, de Olmo contacted the head of the facility, Dr. Alvar, about the plan. Here, part of the cover is that Alice has a psychiatrist, Dr. Donadio, write a letter. Part of it says never to believe her lies. Alice wants to make everyone believe she was admitted because her husband had legally kidnapped her. This gives her a plausible excuse for why Alice is not mentally ill. She can now investigate del Olmo’s son’s death without suspicion. There is an additional exploration of this subject in an alternative timeline. In what first appears to be flashbacks, showing a dead young man in his cell. He dies from a crushing blow and stab wounds. How can this be suicide?

Directed by Oriol Paola, who helped write the script with Guillem Clua and Lara Sendim, it may appear to have too many hands in the cookie jar. However, the labyrinth plot and the extraordinary way timelines are brought together suggest brilliant teamwork. Here, we have a genre of a Spanish film called esperanza masquerading as an unsettling psychological thriller, a somewhat exaggerated, sensationalized, and melodramatic work that wants to expose and say something about society’s truths. Here, we can only speculate, but Tena’s novel explores power, cancel culture, and how they converge. Perhaps navigating the current world we live in with disinformation is easier said than done.

The film suffers from some red hearings and too many characters to not offer anything but distractions and have greater context in the novel. At a massive running time of 155 minutes, the film shows extraordinary patience in plotting to sway the viewer’s opinion in multiple directions. The flashback scenes are well done. When these plot points converge, it may remind you of such films as Rendition. The writers use great finesse and make this task look much easier than it is.

All of this means the performance by Lennie is quite extraordinary, especially in a film of this length and with how much screen time she has. From when she enters the facility as a wealthy aristocrat to her haunting final framed shot, few actors can carry such melodramatic material for that time frame and still make you care about where the film ends. It’s a performance that won’t get the credit it deserves.

Is God’s Crooked Lines worth watching?

The film is essentially a long battle of wills and wits between Lennie’s Alice and Fernandez’s Alvar. While the film may have been better served as a miniseries to hit and emphasize plot points with greater emphasis, God’s Crooked Lines is an extraordinarily patient psychological thriller, one that rewards viewers for their time and dedication, especially for fans of the genre.

What did you think of the Netflix film God’s Crooked Lines? Comment below.

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