Sunday 15 September 2019

Telling Lies review - a compelling and fascinating mystery

 

Telling Lies
Telling Lies
World of Warcraft Classic
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

This is what it feels like to be a peeping tom. Or maybe a hacker who listens to people's voicemails. Sam Barlow's Telling Lies rubs your nose in the grubby business of a private detective rifling through stolen footage of an FBI agent and several related characters.

Barlow pioneered this framing device in Her Story, 2015's marvellous deconstruction of a murder via fragmented videoclips of a police interview. In Telling Lies, he refines and expands the video database system, presenting parallel narratives in the form of footage from only one side of two-way conversations.

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As the detective, you can search the database by words - "love", "weapon", "daughter", etc - which pulls up brief clips featuring the term. Every search draws you down a rabbit hole of intimate conversations, leads and red herrings as you scan through videocalls and surveillance footage listening and watching for clues.

Though horribly disjointed at first - like starting a 10,000-piece jigsaw - gradually the story takes shape as each snippet coalesces in your mind and you glimpse the conversations from both sides.

With credible performances from the principal characters, Barlow has woven a compelling and fascinating mystery. What happened here? Who's truthful? Who's lying? That would be telling.

 

World of Warcraft Classic

(PC/Mac) ★★★  Age: 12+

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World of Warcraft Classic

Nostalgia is a potent force, which led fans of Blizzard's World of Warcraft to create an unsanctioned redux of the land of Azeroth as it was when the game launched back in 2004. Several expansions have long since moulded the modern Azeroth into a different animal, geographically reshaped and friendlier to time-poor gamers.

Blizzard heeds the yearning for the past with WoW Classic, an official rendition that resets Azeroth by 15 years - but for what?

Classic is free with WoW's existing €13-a-month subscription but even as someone who loved it back then, the present-day edition still wins hands-down for me. Maybe it's the deadening grind of many early Classic quests - kill x number of this beast and maybe they won't even drop the items you need - maybe it's the many convenience features added later.

Clearly, it costs nothing to try and Blizzard promises many events in Classic in the coming months. But, nostalgia aside, modern Azeroth offers a more satisfying vision of how a fantasy MMORPG works.

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