The Good Liar was at number 30 on the Guardian’s top 50 films in the UK in 2019. They said of it: ‘Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren are delicious foils in Bill Condon’s expertly paced and twisty story about an elderly conman who may have met his match.’ Some critics weren’t so sure but the film has an 85% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes and we can promise that you will enjoy watching these two legends of the theatre and cinema at work together for the first time in their acting lives. Career con man Roy (Ian McKellen) sets his sights on his latest mark: recently widowed Betty (Helen Mirren), worth millions. And he means to take it all. But as the two draw closer, what should have been another simple swindle takes on the ultimate stakes.
The movie is built on the script and how it’s performed—the actors play off and try to one-up each other in every scene. Yet none of it feels forced or too much. The Good Liar opens up like a rose as the chess game progresses between the two leads. Roy tries to get closer to Betty while he’s still running his other cons in London. Russell Tovey plays Betty’s grandson Steven who is—you guessed it—the skeptical family member who questions Roy’s intentions. He is a major figure in the film’s dynamic and a foil for Roy to play against. Tovey, a very good actor in his own right, holds his own with the two greats on-screen.
The direction by Bill Condon is well done. Many of the scenes could be executed in a boring way but he’s able to bring them together through his shot selection and use of color, which adds so much to the film alongside the great performances.
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Venue: William Loveless Hall