The Good Liar

This title is NOT false advertising. We are in the hands of an excellent liar.

Director Bill Condon ("Beauty and the Beast") working from a script by Jeffrey Hatcher ("Mr. Holmes"), which in turn is based on the novel by Nicholas Searle, delivers the goods! Of course he has the able assistance of a top-notch cast as they transport us into a really good con game, high stakes and excellent performances. We watch as two people of a certain age make a tentative stab at on-line dating.

Part of Condon's cast:
  • Ian McKellen ("Lord of the Rings") is Ray Courtnay, an experienced professional, zeroing in on a wealthy widow.
  • Helen Mirren ("Catherine the Great") Betty McLeish is that recent widow. Her only son died in a car crash, but she has a grandson who pops in and out as he pleases. 
  • Jim Carter ("Downton Abbey") Vincent is Ray's partner, as they pull one slick con after another. 
  • Russell Tovey ("The Lady in the Van") Stephan is Betty's skeptical grandson. He dislikes Ray on sight and makes no bones about it.
We are also introduced to flashbacks to 1943, which seem such a contrast, they are almost as though they are from another film. But they shed light on the current situation.

As always, Helen Mirren is flawless, Jim Carter's voice resonates, and Ian McKellen can do such abrupt personality switches it is stunning.

This R-rated thriller has one gunshot, no vehicular mayhem, no blowie uppie stuff and no sweaty bodies. I think the rating is due to one teeny peek at a pole dancer plus the need for mature understanding. Be prepared for a satisfying conclusion.
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