Betty McLeish, a former Oxford professor and recent widow, is an elderly millionaire, the perfect target for Roy Courtnay, a British con artist, and his partner Vincent. Faking a bad knee, Roy plays on the old woman’s sympathy and convinces her to let him stay at her house.
During his stay, he persuades her to open an offshore investment account with the goal of stealing her fortune. At the same time, Roy and Vincent have been steadily working on a different mark, Bryn, by hiring a group of fake Russian investors. As the job comes to a close, one of these men demand a greater cut of the winnings, and Roy orders his thugs to break his hand. The two jobs intersect when Bryn realizes that he has been robbed and follows Roy on a date with Betty. Unfortunately for Bryn, Roy will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
The Good Liar, directed by Bill Condon, lends itself to a mature Downton Abbey audience. It’s full of mystery, tension, and drama. The concept, while interesting, is unfortunately sabotaged by its own writing. The further into the film you get, the less you believe the characters would behave the way they do. The writing is choppy and the character development is stunted. Every audience craves a surprise finish, but a successful twist requires foreshadowing and justification. Many fans complained about the end reveal leaving them astonished and confused. The goal of the end is to feel like you finally received the last piece to a highly satisfying puzzle, but this movie left us feeling like we were looking at a totally different picture than expected.
The best part of this film was undoubtedly the cast. While this is Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren’s first project together, the two bring electric chemistry to the screen. Undeniably two of the greatest British actors of our time, their performances are committed and compelling. In his review of the film for RollingStone, David Fear states in reference to McKellen and Mirren, “Individually, these veteran thespians, each with decades of work on stage and screen under the belts, are capable of out-acting, outrunning and outgunning performers one third their age.
With such potential, fans were devastated by the disappointing script
This is not disputable.” He continues, “Whether these two are in big-budget blockbusters or quaint period-piece dramas, they are respectively dynamic as hell. Put them together, and theoretically it’s like pairing the immovable force with the irresistible object.” With such potential, fans were devastated by the disappointing script. However, it might still be worth a watch just to see these two artistic giants in motion together.
You can watch The Good Liar online on HFDY wensite