The Good Liar (15)

The Good Liar

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Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen share the screen for the very first time in Bill Condon’s outrageous cat-and-mouse thriller.

Ageing career con artist Roy Courtnay can hardly believe his luck when he meets well-to-do widow Betty McLeish online. Having lured in his mark with a string of online lies, the two eventually meet. Finding a spark, they each come clean over their various white lies and embark on a relationship. As Betty opens her home and life to him, Roy is surprised to find himself caring about her, turning what should be a cut-and-dry swindle into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life.

As expected, Mirren and McKellen make for a superb double star billing. Both playing against type to one extent or another, their performances are deceptively light on any kind of twinkle. Elsewhere Russell Tovey shines in a supporting role as Betty's suspicious grandson Steven, who proves to be a continual thorn in Roy's side.

From The Sting to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, con artistry has always made for great cinema. In its own old-fashioned, fall-about way, The Good Liar delivers a satisfying sting of its own. (Research Chris Coetsee)