The Good Liar is a thriller Directed by Bill Condon based on the Nicholas Searle novel of the same name. Ian McKellen stars as Roy Courtnay, a long time con-man who has his eyes on Betty McLeish, a former Oxford University teacher who has been recently widowed, played by Helen Mirren. As the story develops, it quickly becomes clear that not all is as it seems, as this is perhaps the most twist-filled movie of the year.
It’s hard to say much more about the story itself without completely spoiling it, but it’s safe to say that ‘The Good Liar’ is full of twists and turns right until the end, and you can never be too sure that any of the characters are being completely truthful at any given moment. Some of these plot events are perhaps a little predictable, but the majority of them caught me by complete surprise, with there being several audible gasps in the cinema.
The main supporting cast of Russell Tovey and Jim Carter both work really well alongside Helen and Ian, with Russell playing Betty’s Grandson, and Jim playing a (fairly crooked) business associate and friend of Roy’s. You can tell that the whole cast reveled in playing the roles that they did, but especially Ian and Helen.
At certain points the writing did come across a bit ITV Sunday night drama; some scenes are set during flashbacks and come across as dull and slow, even compared to the relatively slow build-up sections of the movie. Those moments are few and far between however, with there being some really nasty and gritty action sequences that play out as you steadily find out more of the truth behind these characters. These more action-packed moments are jarring in the best possible way, and are placed just often enough throughout the movie for each of them to seem necessary to carry the story forward while also breaking up the slower sections.
‘The Good Liar’ is a film that has you constantly trying to second guess it’s next move, and with a great cast and gripping story, the ending pays off brilliantly.