The Good Liar (NC16)
Starring Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Jim Carter
Directed by Bill Condon
Ian McKellen plays a scam artist and Helen Mirren is a widow he meets online, a potential mark that promises a windfall. I like McKellen. I like Mirren. On paper, the power combo spells fireworks, but in reality, the dramatic pyrotechnics created are more like sparklers.
If you know your conmen movies, the characters are not always who they say they are. They would take us down a long, twisty road before they put their cards on the table. But in The Good Liar — directed by Bill Condon, who won an Oscar for Gods & Monsters and a Razzie for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 — there are too few twists and turns to tease the audience. It's pretty inert most of the time.
Pacing is an issue too: the movie sometimes feels as if it were 30 minutes too short, other times 30 minutes too long. Strange, right? Either way, instead of delivering a killer punch to the gut in the big reveal (exposition time!), it’s a gentle slap on the shoulder. The Good Liar isn’t bad, just a tad bland and unsatisfying. (**1/2)
Photo: Warner Bros Pictures