The Good Liar 2019 drama crime
The Geezer movie is becoming a recognized genre. The Good Liar is the latest example in 2019. Despite the famous lead actors, Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan, this film is a weak melodrama with zero comic relief. Watchable if you admire the leads, but not one for the DVD shelf or even pay-for-view streaming. I recommend getting a free library rental, and save your cash for a better movie.
The driver of the plot is Roy (Ian McKellan) as an elderly con man who, among his other scams, romances lonely widows of means and fleeces them out of their life savings. His newest target is Betty (Helen Mirren), a recently widowed Oxford professor who he meets on an internet dating site for seniors. The first two-thirds of the movie is Roy turning on the charm with Betty, and working the con in his unhurried, crafty style. It works, almost too easily, as Roy is invited to Betty’s home to be her roommate, and soon becomes her friendly financial advisor. But Betty seems far from clueless, so we keep waiting to see how Betty turns the tables on Roy, while he thinks he's playing her.
Now if the writer / director had stopped here, and not flashbacked to unnecessary plot-point on top of plot-point, revelation on top of bizarre revelation, we'd have had a fine time. But pile on they did in relentless fashion, and it was jaw-dropping, head-shaking as a result. These seem to come out of nowhere. So far out of nowhere (think 1940’s era Nazis) that even after the film attempts to explain these strange, backstory complexities, I did NOT buy the rickety plot.
The twist ending has zero tension, partly because we've seen it coming and partly because Betty sandbags Roy so completely that there's no real contest. After Roy gets his comeuppance, we get pounded again with heavy-handed, moralizing scenes that could better have been left out, leaving Roy's aftermath to our imagination. Recommended only for fans of cold-hearted characters and revenge tales. Do not be fooled; this movie is NOT a “thriller” as flogged by the media.
Written by Ben Clark. Copyright 2016-2021. All rights reserved.