Consummate con man Roy Courtnay has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish, worth millions. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes.
Career con artist Roy Courtnay (Sir Ian McKellen) can hardly believe his luck when he meets well-to-do widow Betty McLeish (Dame Helen Mirren) on-line. As Betty opens her home and life to him, Roy is surprised to find himself caring about her, turning what should be a cut-and-dry swindle into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life.Written by
New Line Cinema
When Roy (Ian McKellen) and Betty (Helen Mirren) prepare to enter their passwords for the money transfer to take place, Roy begins to spell out the word 'lilies', but he he incorrectly says 'I.L.L.' instead of 'L.I.L.' See more »
[leaving a screening of "Inglourious Basterds"]
Well, I may have missed a step, but I am fairly certain that Adolf Hitler was not machine-gunned to death in a French cinema.
Well, it would have been rather good if he had been.
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Somehow, its twists are both obvious and out of the blue.
'The Good Liar (2019)' is, in essence, nonsense, comprised of twists either far too obvious or completely out of the blue. Even though its marketing all but spoils its most major revelation, the flick still plays as a relatively unassuming drama until a final exposition dump aims to re-contextualise its plot, turning the affair into a pseudo thriller. Perhaps this is an effort to provoke a second viewing, but the movie doesn't have an ounce of ambiguity or, indeed, foreshadowing. It makes for a completely blindsiding ending that has little to no consequence because it feels so utterly disconnected from everything we've seen prior. The protagonist is suddenly transformed into something they never were before and we're just expected to accept it, to change allegiances at the last minute. This is a big ask and it makes for an unsatisfying end. Conceptually, it's fine, it's just that its execution doesn't capitalise on its potential. The picture isn't bad, though. It's forgettable and retroactively strained but it's engaging enough. The two leads are as good as you'd expect, playing ever-so-slightly against type and feeling comfortable while doing so. The actual writing is decent, if a little cheesy, and the direction is competent. There are a couple of OAP scuffles that work surprisingly well, too. Generally, it's relatively enjoyable throughout, despite some eye-rolling moments. It does feel a bit 'BBC 2' but it's not a bad effort, even though it's already fading from my memory. 6/10
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