The Good Liar Review

The Good Liar

Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren are two of the legends of acting. Not just in England but in Hollywood as well. After all, Sir Ian McKellen was Gandalf and Dame Helen Mirren was the Queen. So anytime we get a film where we put acting legends on-screen for any film then it’s sure to be a fun ride. Luckily, we get to see McKellen and Mirren together in a mystery film. But is The Good Liar a film that is able to showcase the talents of these two fine actors?

Yes, it does. Without the charm of Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen, the film would be a mundane mystery thriller without any of the thrills. But thanks to these two, you’re engrossed in the film from beginning to end.

The Good Liar follows conman Roy Courtnay who has his sights on Betty McLeish, a recently widowed woman who’s worth millions. Little does he know that his life will forever change by going after Betty McLeish.

The Good Liar - Helen Mirren

The Good Liar as a mystery film is effective and will keep you guessing until the very end. However, as a thriller, it’s not very thrilling. The film is not as action-packed as the marketing might suggest. Good Liar moves at a slow pace as a way to establish who these characters are. Nothing is thrilling or action-packed about the way that Roy operates.

Yet because of the characters and story, the film can keep your interest throughout. Ian McKellen’s Roy is an interesting character because of his double life. He’s a con artist but a likable con artist. It’s weird how much you like the nice side of him because he reminds you of your grandfather. At the same time, you get a similar feeling towards him when he’s conning people. It’s a weird dichotomy but we can attribute that to McKellen’s performance. He was Gandalf after all.

But that’s why you worry about Betty. Similarly, Betty is also like that grandmother that you love. She’s so naive and so incredibly nice that you think the worst will happen to her. You hope that she’ll wisen up at some point.

The Good Liar - Ian McKellen

Thankfully, things never turn out the way you think they do in a mystery film. In a way, there’s a ton of layers to the film itself. The Good Liar lulls you into thinking that Roy is simply conning Betty. Yet there’s something deeper looming in the back, similar to Roy’s deception. The boring and mundane con is just a decoy. So like all mysteries, the revelation is what makes or breaks a film. Thankfully, the revelation is satisfying, to say the least.

Ian McKellen shines as Roy. He’s able to showcase the two sides to him but you can tell through his eyes and body language what he’s thinking. Not many actors can emote in this way, but the veteran actor definitely can. Similarly, Helen Mirren goes toe-to-toe with McKellen. She brings a sweet and tender motherly characteristic to her performance. Yet there’s a feistiness to her that you can’t help but love as well—especially when she argues with her grandson.

Overall, The Good Liar is a fun film to watch due to the performances by Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren. Seeing these two acting legends on-screen is so fun to watch. Their back and forth is what will keep your interest during the mundane parts, but the payoff will be worth it.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1517 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.