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Blu-ray Review: The Good Liar

February 4, 2020

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

At the start of The Good Liar, Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) and Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren) meet in person for the first time in London, England after chatting online. We learn that her husband just passed away a year earlier, and they are both lonely senior citizens seeking companionship, or so it initially seems.

We soon find out that Roy is a con man who gets close to older women to cheat them out of their life savings, an operation that he runs with his business partner Vincent (Jim Carter), and so begins his process of trying to convince Betty to merge her bank account with his so that he can leave and siphon out her funds.

At first, Betty comes across as a somewhat naive widow and she seems to Roy like an easy mark, even inviting him to stay at her house when his knee goes out, despite the fact that they haven’t known each other for very long by that point. Roy quickly learns that Betty has millions of pounds in savings, but there are also unexpected obstacles standing in his way of taking advantage of her, including her sharply observant grandson Stephen (Russell Tovey), who is instantly suspicious of this new man in her life.

As you can probably pertain from the title, The Good Liar is the sort of film in which everything is not necessarily as it initially appears, and there are a lot of twists and turns along the way. I wouldn’t think of spoiling them here, but I can say that the film grows darker and darker the more we learn about the characters, leading to a disturbing revelation in the last act. The screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher, adapted from Nicholas Searle’s novel of the same name, does get increasingly convoluted as it goes along, and some of the developments do come across as far-fetched.

While you can pick it apart after the fact, and parts of it do delve into pulpy melodrama, The Good Liar is still a consistently entertaining film to watch. Director Bill Condon, returning to serious adult dramas following Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast remake, does a decent job of building suspense and keeping us interested in the constantly evolving plot. The film is carried by a pair of solid performances from veteran actors McKellen and Mirren, who have strong chemistry and are perfectly matched. This is an imperfect but mostly satisfying cat and mouse thriller that goes in some unexpected directions.

The Blu-ray also includes the featurette A Perfect Match: Inside The Good Liar, which focuses on the production of the film and the process of bringing the source novel to the screen, as well as a decent selection of deleted scenes.

The Good Liar is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 109 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: February 4th, 2020

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