After his million-dollar Disney production “Beauty and the Beast,” director Bill Condon is back to filming on a smaller scale and is relaxing THE GOOD LIAR a difficult game of confusion on the screen in which genius and madness are very close together. We reveal what we mean by this in our review.
What is Roy (Ian McKellen) really planning?
The plot summary
The confident professional fraudster Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) has his latest target in his sights: the millionaire, recently widowed Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren). And Roy intends to take everything. From their first meeting, Roy begins to ensnare Betty with his tried-and-tested manipulations, and Betty, who seems very taken with him, quickly becomes involved with him. But this time, the simple deception escalates into a cat-and-mouse game where everything is at stake – and reveals further perfidious machinations that will lead them both through a minefield of danger, intrigue and betrayal.
The Good Liar Movie Meaning & ending
As a casual cinema-goer, you are often drawn to the large multiplexes and cinema chains designed for the masses, where what dominates the advertising is presented. On the other hand, if you go to the city arthouse cinemas from time to time, you can get a good impression of what’s going on outside of the mainstream cinema. For example, there is a veritable oversaturation of films aimed at audiences over 60; And precisely because we don’t want to automatically assume to this target group that they want to give up their claim by entering a cinema at the box office in order to simply be entertained for an hour and a half, it sometimes borders on cheeky that films for… and across the gray generation they often turn out to be so stuffy and unexcited ( “One Last Job” from this year is the perfect example of this) and often tell the same stories over and over again about love in old age, about illnesses or unexpected resilience. Director Bill Condon (“Beauty and the Beast”) and his latest work “The Good Liar” can already be credited with this much : It has all sorts of genre facets, from romance to drama to thriller and comedy , film about two pensioners who get to know each other over the Internet is heavily cast with the who’s who of Hollywood’s golden agers and only ever hints at fulfilling expectations, before in the final third it turns everything seen before inside out and thus either inspires or advances bumps his head. So you don’t get “always the same thing” presented here. And that’s good. The extent to which this also applies to the film itself is largely in the eye of the beholder.
Grandson Stephen (Russell Tovey) has serious concerns about his grandma Betty’s (Helen Mirren) new boyfriend.
In order to adequately evaluate “The Good Liar,” it would actually require a detailed look at the final twist. Since this in turn develops its full emotional impact from the moment of surprise, we don’t want to go into this in more detail. Just this much: in terms of tone and content, it is such a stark contrast to the previous hour and a half that there is equal parts genius and madness in this undoubtedly very courageous finale. Screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher (already wrote the script for Bill Condon’s very successful “Sherlock Holmes” reinterpretation “Mr. Holmes” ) initially focuses on the solid introduction between Roy and Betty in his story based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Searle . Although early scenic inserts about Roy’s double life as a clever and violent con artist as well as conversations with his accomplice Vincent (Jim Carter) about Roy’s plans to cheat Betty out of her savings indicate that this budding romance is anything but emotional, Condon points out with his film taking opposite directions as it progresses. For a long time, “The Good Liar” seems like a story about purification. And since Sir Ian McKellen plays Roy in a very opaque way, the illusion that he is finally getting out of the shady fraud business in his old age because of Betty works surprisingly well.
After about halfway through the film, “The Good Liar” finally becomes unattractive. A great attraction in an otherwise rather solidly staged film, the pace of which adapts to the age of the two protagonists. On the one hand, there are the scenes in which Roy’s past (and present) as a fraud are so present that there is no doubt about his plans. On the other hand, the sometimes romantic moments between him and Betty seem absolutely sincere – and last but not least, there is Mirren’s at least equally impenetrable performance as a woman who is not openly running into the circular saw of doom, who is following her extremely attentive (and the… Skepticism whether Roy, who suddenly appears in his grandmother’s life and is often a little too explicit) doesn’t actually need grandson Stephen (Russell Tovey) to exercise caution. The longer “The Good Liar” progresses, the more Helen Mirren’s character becomes an invaluable factor. When, apart from the friendly and amorous togetherness, both sides constantly stalk each other and the atmosphere thereby finds its diffuse tension, “The Good Liar” clearly has its strongest moments. Depending on your interpretation, all of this either culminates in the final resolution or collapses inexorably.
Contrary to what the rather lurid trailers suggested (basically the only thing missing from the poster was that one of the two was holding a gun in his hand and “The Good Liar” could be interpreted perfectly, albeit incorrectly, as a pensioner version of “Mr . and Mrs. Smith), the film finally takes a path in the finale that – we can tell you this much – is definitely surprising. The aha effect of the big picture works. But the resolution of the story is as far removed from the shallow, illustrious production of the previous 90 minutes as the master plan of logic and realism presented here. What’s more: While “The Good Liar” is a cheerful and carefree watchable pleasure for an hour and a half, the story ultimately ends in such a thematically devastating realm that you will ultimately ponder the film significantly more than any old pensioner’s joke. But what the story touches on here is actually far too morbid to only serve as a sensational twist in the end. Maybe that’s why some viewers find it even harder. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be surprising if the serious intention behind it just fizzled out. As a result, “The Good Liar” definitely falls between the two stools and a bitter aftertaste remains. You can’t really recommend this film to anyone.
Conclusion: “The Good Liar” is a pensioner romance, scam crime thriller and comedy all in one – and much more, which is only revealed in the twisty finale. Bill Condon risks a lot with this, but loses even more, although his top-class cast can at least handle the outrageous script developments reasonably well.
“The Good Liar” can be seen in USA cinemas from November 28th.