The Reel Review
Roy (Ian McKellen) is a crafty career con man who makes his fortune ripping people off. When he sets his sights on Betty, a naive, newly-widowed London millionaire (Helen Mirren), his latest swindle turns into a game of cat and mouse in this thriller from director Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast, Dreamgirls).
McKellen and Mirren are great fun to watch and they keep the story moving along at an entertaining clip, with Jim Carter (Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey) as Roy’s partner in crime and Russell Tovey (Years and Years, The Pass) as Betty’s increasingly suspicious grandson. But the twist-filled story, based on the 2015 novel by Nicholas Searle, has so many crazy plot contrivances hurling from left field that by the finale it just seems downright silly.
Fortunately for Condon, his goofy, convoluted story is salvaged by its vastly superior cast. As thrillers go, you could certainly do a lot worse.
• The Good Liar is the fourth collaboration between writer/director Bill Condon and actor Ian McKellen after 1998’s Gods and Monsters, 2015’s Mr. Holmes and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast.
• Surprisingly, The Good Liar is the first film collaboration for British stage and screen legends Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen.
• Screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher wrote 2015’s Mr. Holmes, directed by Bill Conlon and starring Ian McKellen.