Ben Oliver

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The Good Liar

Seems like you’ve had quite a past, Roy.
09 November 2019

A life-long con artist (Ian McKellen) finds an easy mark (Helen Mirren) on an online dating site. As he grows close to her, her grandson grows suspicious of him and he must do what he can to avoid getting rumbled.

Spoiler alert

It’s always great to see two top actors play off each other, but Mirren gets a bit short shrifted here. This is a revenge story, but by keeping that information from the audience until a twist ending, it never properly gets off the ground.

Up to that point, McKellen gets all the good lines and scenes. Then beyond that point there isn’t much film left.

Put the back-story at the start and have them run around each other in a cat and mouse chase, and you’d have a great thriller on your hands. Instead what little tension gets built is defused quickly and quietly at the end.

Nevertheless, The Good Liar is a solid showcase for two excellent screen actors. There are far worse ways to spend a rainy weekend than to watch these two at work.

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