Lying and Stealing is a surprisingly good movie on Netflix. I'd never heard of it but saw that Theo James (Sanditon) was in it so gave it a watch. I'm not sure what I was expecting, probably a cliched low-budget crime caper but instead, I got a decent, engaging crime drama. James plays Ivan, a thief who leads a fairly uninteresting life except for stealing millions of dollars worth of art. It quickly, though a little obscurely, becomes evident that he doesn't actually steal them for himself, but for a crime broker called Dimitri aka ‘The Greek', as a way to pay back his father's debt.
Knowing full well, that if he ever does come to a resolution with Dimitri (Fred Melamed) he will likely then be killed off, he must come up with a plan to stay alive. By chance, he comes across Elyse (Emily Ratajkowski from I Feel Pretty), a black-listed actress who is trying to pay back $250K to a producer that she robbed. She needs money and Ivan needs a way out so together they team up for one last haul. The haul in question is the stealing of an Adolf Hitler self-portrait. Ivan's cut is $500K, enough to bail them both out of trouble.
However, Dimitri isn't stupid and once it becomes clear that an FBI agent is on to Ivan, it becomes a kill or be killed situation. Along with his bipolar brother, Ivan must concoct a plan to get them out from under Dimitri, the FBI and the movie producer. And while that may sound a little far-fetched, the pacing of Lying and Stealing, though slow, doesn't rush the process. It's far more of a drama than a high-stakes action movie.
Lying and Stealing is only the second writing credit from Matt Aselton, and his third as director, so in that regard, it's a decent enough movie. Sure, it's not an A list film and was probably created on a modest budget so it does have issues. That said, other than it's slow pace and a couple of plot holes, it was actually enjoyable and better than a lot of other hyped up movies.