The Good Liar

Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Ian McKellan are international treasures. I would watch them read the phone book and be perfectly content. Put them together in a game of cat and mouse? Sign me up please!

Sir Ian woos Dame Helen after meeting her on a dating site, but he has less than noble intentions. He’s a con man working a long game on her. But could she be the one mark that can actually handle him?

It’s hard to describe the plot without giving away too much. Hell, the trailer can’t even manage it. I walked in with certain story assumptions that I feel would have been better left as a surprise. But really, I only had two expectations going in: amazing performances and a fun game.

The performances, it goes without saying, were fantastic of course. These two were very clearly relishing their roles and having so much fun. But neither really (well maybe Dame Helen towards the end) had a BIG showstopping monolgue. Lots of scenery chewing for sure, but no mind blowing. In fact, I almost ran home to watch Apt Pupil, my favorite Ian McKellan performance (yes, over Gandlaf) because that was the level I was hoping for.

And my other desire from the film? That too was a bit unsatisfying. My brain was running in circles trying to figure out what the underlying game was, and while the reasons went far deeper (and darker!) than I expected, the twists weren’t nearly twisty enough for me. I was discussing it with a friend and he brought up Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. That was the level I was hoping for, and it’s not at all what I got. Still great, and I was unbelievably anxious leading into the final act, but not quite what I’d hoped.

Remember when I said I’d happily watch these two read the phone book? Even if it wasn’t quite up to the level I’d hoped, it was still much better than a phone book reading. So I’ll take it.

The Good Liar – \m/ \m/ \m/

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