“The Good Liar” is a low-key thriller for gray hairs. Based on the novel by Nicholas Searle, this cerebral, talky tale of revenge and deception is an okay movie that’s boosted by two great leads.
Career con man Roy (Ian McKellen) has found his latest mark: recently widowed Betty (Helen Mirren). Betty is worth millions, and Roy schemes to take it all. The swindle seems to be going well until the pair’s relationship takes a dark turn. Secrets of the past come to light as the scam becomes a maze of twists, turns, cruelty, and deception.
It’s wonderful seeing older stars and characters treated as equals in Hollywood, and it’s about damn time that McKellen and Mirren finally have been awarded the chance to act together. They are unstoppable talents, and both give charming, skilled performances. The chemistry between these two is tremendous, and it makes the big reveal even more rewarding.
The mystery is unexpectedly dark, the twist is mostly predictable, the pacing is sedate, and the film is mostly forgettable, but it never feels as if it’s pandering to the senior citizen characters. It’s great to see a strong older woman character starring in a female-driven story, and those looking for an adult drama will find just enough to like.