Friday, January 29, 2021

Movie Review: ‘The Good Liar’ might keep you guessing but is kind of a disappointment

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: R

Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes

An older couple meet through an online dating website and strike up a relationship. You soon realize one is not to be trusted. Will the other realize before it’s too late? Sounds exciting, right? It is. For a majority of the movie, you think you know who’s playing who, but then things change. However, this thriller has a strong start and then fizzles a bit at the end.

Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) is on a dating site where he meets Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren). The two meet and hit it off right away; Roy makes a statement early on that he deplores dishonesty. Little does one of them know that the other is more than a bit of a thief.

Roy meets Betty’s grandson, Stephen (Russell Tovey) and pretty much right from the start, Stephen is not a fan of Roy. He does go along to humor his grandmother, though.

During dinner, Stephen notices a scar on Roy’s neck and asks him about it. In keeping with being honest, Roy says he does not like to talk about it and declines to answer. The answer will reveal itself later.

Outside of their relationship, you learn a bit about who Roy and Betty are as people, which may – or may not – play into their honesty later on. As the two get to know each other, they reveal more and more about themselves to the other person. Are they being truthful?

While out one day, Betty collapses and is told by a doctor that she must take it easy, or she won’t live another year.

Stephen later takes Roy and Betty on a tour of Berlin, where Stephen only grows more suspicious of this man spending all this time with his grandmother.

In Berlin, there are a few reveals. It was at this point that I felt like the movie dragged a little. I did get a sense that Betty might be up to something, but I also got a sense that Roy was not far behind – also up to something.

What’s the deal with these two? Is there lying going on? Might there be a connection? Or is it something else?

I was on board for about 75 percent of this movie. I’m not really a big fan of these two actors, but the premise seemed interesting. I felt like the ending could have been better. It was mildly predictable in some areas, and there was a twist I didn’t see coming.

Without giving too much away, it gets a little dark at the end. The last 25 percent of this movie was ok, but for everything they had set up, I felt like the payout was minimal. I’d give it two and half stars out of five stars. Available on HBO Max. <

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