The Good Liar Review
Dan Skip Allen
Thespian is a word rarely used to describe actors and actresses these days. I think it safe to say Ian McKellan and Helen Mirren are two of the best thespian’s working today. They have both garnered critical acclaim for their stage work. Mirren is an Academy Award winner for Best Actress for The Queen and McKellan has been nominated for an Academy Award for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring where he portrayed Gandolf. Their film work rivals their stage work. When I saw that these two powerhouse performers were going to go head to head in The Good Liar, I was as giddy as a school girl. Well they didn’t let me down! They are both incredible in this film.
Ian McKellan portrays life long con man Roy Courtney. He meets Betty McLiesh online using a dating service. She’s a well to-do widow and just feeble enough for him to dwindle away all her money. The problem is he starts falling in love with her. This complicates things. Russell Tovey portrays Betty’s grandson Steven. He suspects that Roy is more then meets the eye. Roy has to be very careful to not get caught in his con. Vincent, portrayed by Jim Carter from Downton Abbey fame, is Roy’s financial adviser. He’s in on of all dirty dealings Roy comes up with.
When I was watching the film it was obvious that McKellan was enjoying every moment he had on screen. He plays a bad guy so well. He used his eyes and mouth perfectly. Making faces and so forth. He was made for this character. I would love to see him get another Oscar nomination for his performance as Roy Courtney.
Con man films aren’t anything new but Bill Condon has put his unique spin on the genre that makes The Good Liar one of best con man films ever. This is the third time Condon has worked with McKellan. They previously worked together on Mr. Holmes and God’s and Monster. Two of McKellan’s best performances. Condon seems to get a lot out of this great British actor. Also working with Mirren doesn’t hurt either. Both of them together made for great performances to act opposite one another. This elevated the film to another level. It’s great see two great actors like McKellan and Mirren work with accomplished directors like Condon. The results speak for themselves. The Good Liar is one of the best films of the year. It gives a new meaning to senior citizens!!
4 ½ Stars
Dan Skip Allen