Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Review: The Good Liar

Release date: November 15, 2019
Running time: 109 minutes
Starring: Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Russell Tovey

The Good Liar is a suspenseful movie where seasoned con man Roy Courtney (McKellen) tries to charm his way into the life of Betty McLeish (Mirren).  Roy hopes to get one last score and sees in Betty an easy mark.  But his efforts are hampered by previous bad blood, Betty's suspicious grandson Steven, and Roy's own slip ups as he gets deep into the con.  

The draw for this film is the powerhouse cast of Mirren and McKellen.  Both of them are at the top of their game and do a fantastic job as an older couple with a blossoming relationship, despite one of them being not all that they appear to be.  Mirren is charming and trusting, pulling you in when she wants to but also closing up when Roy gets too comfortable in his new relationship.  McKellen slides perfectly between the facade he is putting before Betty and his every day con business.  It is a masterclass in deception with McKellen completely changing his persona, from his eyes, to his gait, to his clothes, when he goes from one world to the next.  The two headliners are joined by a great supporting cast who help enhance this world and keep the film moving along.

The story of the Good Liar is well done and methodically paced.  At some points the story slows down greatly, which I believe is to give the audience time to really learn about these characters.  It can be slow but the story is always interesting.  There is enough intrigue and side plots to keep the audience entertained even when the pace stalls.  The con takes Betty and Roy all over the world with a good variety of locales contrasting the fast pace of London with Betty's quiet, suburban life.  And despite a few odd plot holes and a twist that is nearly impossible to see coming, the film tells a fascinating tale of deception that is a joy to watch, despite sometimes also being painful to see.

The Good Liar takes a dream duo of Mirren and McKellen and weaves a tale of deception that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  This is not a con, make sure to check out this film!

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