Strictly Confidential: Scandals, Secrets and Murder Most Foul

There’s joy in pulp romances.

Having grown up watching soap operas, I have a genuine fondness for the trials and tribulations of the rich and famous, especially as their scandals are uncovered and secrets are revealed. It’s through this lens that I can enjoy Strictly Confidential, a twisty tale of truth and lies from first-time filmmaker writer/director Damian Hurley.

Strictly Confidential tells the story of Mia (Georgia Lock), a young woman still grieving the loss of her best friend, Rebecca (Lauren McQueen). On the anniversary of her mysterious death, Mia and her friends return to the Caribbean paradise in honour of Rebecca and her life. As Mia reconnects with her old flame, dear friends and Rebecca’s mother (Elizabeth Hurley) and sister Jemma (Genevieve Gaunt), old secrets and passions begin to emerge, revealing a web of sex, betrayal and murder.

For his first feature, Hurley does a good job of keeping the emphasis on his characters. Despite the beauty of their surroundings, the film focuses its lens upon the broken lives of the rich and powerful. With Confidential, Hurley and his team are clearly having a blast as the film fully embraces its pulp nature. Containing multiple twists and turns, the cast clearly revels in their opportunity to unravel its tale of infidelity and murder most foul and they bring us along for the ride with them. Featuring some solid work by Lock and (Elizabeth) Hurley, everyone seems to be up for the fun. (Credit must also be given to the two Hurleys as mother Elizabeth seems to team well with her son as he sits upon the director’s chair.) As the family fires begin to burn, the film carries itself with a certain level of fun, especially as it uncovers the secrets held by Rebecca’s family and friends.

And there are many secrets to discover.

Without giving away any spoilers, Confidential has enough mysteries embedded within it to make the best of daytime serials blush. Unspoken romances, betrayals and questions of murder plague these characters as they attempt to navigate their way through their weekend together. This is a story that highlights the toxic nature of the secrets that we keep and the damage that they can cause in our relationships.

This is especially true for Mia as she seems to be the catalyst of shining light on her friends and their shadows. Grappling with her grief, Mia also must wrestle feelings of rage for the sins of others as well. 

But, as a result of the pressure put upon Mia, Confidential leans into conversations about forgiveness. With everything that’s happened, Mia becomes lost in a sea of controversies with many hands reaching out to receive grace from her. Yet, truly letting things go comes at a cost. And Confidential isn’t entirely sure if every wrong is worth making right. These stories have left a mark on Mia, forcing her to decide whether or not she can put the past behind her. For some relationships, it may take forgiveness in order to find a chance to heal.

For others, walking away may be the only way to do so.

But, underneath it’s conversations about grace and grief, one just can’t help but get caught up in the madness. While Hurley’s writing could tighten up, this is a thoroughly enjoyable effort for the filmmaker as he unravels the secrets of the upper class.

Strictly Confidential is available in theatres on Friday, April 5th, 2024.

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