Private Project

A Landscape of Lies - Directors Cut

The murder investigation of a decorated war hero at the hands of a serial killer becomes the catalyst behind four very separate lives colliding together in an intricate web of betrayal and deceit.

Who can you trust when the truth is buried beneath a landscape of lies?

  • Paul Knight
    Tomorrow Never Knows
  • Paul Knight
    Thugs, Mugs and Violence
  • Andrea McLean
    Key Cast
    Loose Women
  • Danny Midwinter
    Key Cast
    Freight, Human Traffic
  • Andre Nightingale
    Key Cast
    Breathless Awakening, Decline of an Empire
  • Anna Passey
    Key Cast
    Hollyoaks, The Smoke
  • Marc Bannerman
    Key Cast
    Eastenders, Transhuman
  • Danny Young
    Key Cast
    Stalker, Deep Cuts
  • Lucinda Rhodes
    Key Cast
    Dream Team, Death Walks
  • Philp Brodie
    Key Cast
    War Dogs, Harley and the Davidsons
  • Victoria Hopkins
    Key Cast
    Doghouse, Chronicles of Syntax
  • Mel Mills
    Key Cast
    Law of Survival, The Chosen Ones
  • Daniel Peacock
    Key Cast
    Marley's Ghost, Comic Strip presents
  • Helen Latham
    Key Cast
    Footballers Wives, Keen Eddie
  • Djonny Chen
    9 days and 9 nights
  • Lance Warlock
    Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2
  • Paul Knight
    Women in Charge
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    psychological, thriller, crime, taboo, Drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 28 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 15, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    84,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Paul Knight

Independent filmmaker Paul Knight has been making films since 2009; he has produced, written and directed an eclectic array of features, short films, music videos and theatre that have earned him a following in both the literacy and entertainment industry.

Paul started out as a hobbyist in writing, his first novel ‘Coding of a concrete animal’ won the Gossip Girls crime writer award for 2007 and he has been featured in a number of True Crime collaboration books including ‘Bouncers and Bodyguards’, ‘Respect and Reputation’, ‘A cut above the rest’ and ‘Concrete Roots’.

Not entering the film industry until he was in his 40’s he undertook the 2-day film school class taught by Hollywood legend Dov Simens – whose previous students included Quentin Tarantino, Chris Nolan, Kevin Smith and Guy Ritchie.

2014 saw Paul directing the short theatre run musical ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ an original story about Lennon & McCartney for Mason Philips Productions featuring Ewen Macintosh, Victoria Broom, David Hamilton and Gareth Turkington and Andy Steed playing Lennon & McCartney respectively.

Paul, has recently completed his latest feature film, ’24 little Hours’ that was influenced by Robert Rodriguez’s filmmaking style as the film was shot in just 8 days.

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Director Statement

I think this film is going to be divisive, early screenings have been interesting as different people come away with very different perspectives on the characters in the film. The film provides one perception of the characters and events going in and another coming out, was the baddie really bad? Did the hero actually do anything heroic? Did the police act lawfully? Is that trusted confidant really there to help or to hinder? Is the friend I see every day, my enemy? There is no one in this film that doesn’t lie, they all have an agenda and the overall message is that ‘Betrayal never comes from your enemies, it comes from those you trust the most’.

From the trailer that was cut, the feedback we got was ‘Why do I need to see the film, I already know what happens and who the killer is’… All I can say is ‘they know nothing’. The trailer, much like the film, is cut to evoke misconception… even your first impression of who is who from the opening scenes will change by the final one… It unfolds just like real life… Your friend today, is your enemy tomorrow… greed, jealousy, ambition, betrayal, pride, arrogance… these are common traits, we all have them, we all at one point in our lives have given in or displayed at least one, if not all of them. No one is perfect, our actions are dictated by the obstacles that confront us, they, if only momentarily, can influence our behaviour. It is said that serial killers, like the one in this film, are not born with that way, it’s not genetics - it’s circumstance… The influences of one’s life, especially if those events transpire in a person’s formative years, can be the making of you, but sometimes it tips you over the edge and you become the monster. What you think you know to what you actually know can at times be a whole world apart and that is ultimately the formula for this film.

I know a lot of people expect a certain genre to come out of the British independent scene, naturally a lot of indie filmmakers turn to a horror or a gangster/hooligan movie which is probably less risky than a film which explores for the most part, ordinary people dealing with ordinary problems, but I enjoy a challenge. I like that I got to make a film that posed questions, that showed how betrayal can be the downfall for our loved ones not just ourselves and challenge people’s notions of who is the hero and who really is the bad guy. When we get to the root of the story we’re exploring the lengths people go to serve their own interests, the lies they tell to justify their actions and why they do the things they do. As people, we’ve all done something wrong, from telling little white lies to protect someone’s feelings to the genocide of millions in the name of a higher cause, it’s that self-righteous belief that we are always the hero of our own story.

The through line of the film is the murder of a decorated Army officer for his bravery out in Iraq who recently returned home after 3 tours (played by Marc Bannerman). Any time you use something like a war to set a period in time and establish characters you are going to be branded as either trying to glamorise or capitalise on a subject matter that has a strong split of opinion. I decided to keep the moments, told in flashbacks, to the bare minimum, we just used a moment in time to convey friendship and loyalty. However when the film screened at the Cardiff film festival, Peter Gaskell wrote an article for the ‘Wales Art Review’:

“Landscape of Lies is a London-based thriller ostensibly about a man in a failing marriage whose business is under threat from a gangster wanting to muscle in and take over. It is the impressive cinematography that makes this film so effective, adding cinematic colour to the underlying theme about the effects of war on soldiers. It is gradually revealed that the villain of the piece has become a flashy gangster as a result of being warped by brutal treatment at the hands of his military father, while the more humble protagonist, a veteran of the Iraq war, was able to maintain his integrity despite constant provocation…”

It highlights how one person interprets the story to how I did when writing it, and as I was referring to in the opening sentence, people can watch the same movie but walk away feeling they watched completely different films. It is from here that the discussions will start and that’s what I was seeking to make, a film that encourages talk about what they just watched rather than feeling they wasted 90 minutes of their lives.

I take immense pride in the final edit of this film, it has been a pure labour of love but if asked if I had any regrets on it, then it would be that it was never released back in 2011. In the film industry, timing is just as crucial as the story and to get the audience in to see it. The topics being championed now are things we addressed 6 years ago… We had diversity in our cast and crew, we had strong female roles, and we never played up to stereotype and never over sexualised a scene. Mental awareness, LGBT, abuse… themes that are heavily pushed now, we had back then, and they were not featured to appease a tick box… They were included because they are everyday… none of it is new… nevertheless the delayed release does now come across that our film is reactive rather than the proactive one is would have been back in 2011.

As I say the project has a very strong lead female cast. I was keen to create a project which allow women to explore exciting, challenging and interesting characters. I don’t think there’s enough out there for them regarding these type of roles. They are usually reduced to either eye candy or in need to be rescued by a man, and I wasn’t brought up to think that way, women birth life, the women in my life are strong, capable and complex this is something I will continue to promote throughout all my projects.