The Good Liar - plot twistingly brilliant or completely bonkers?!
FILM REVIEW: THE GOOD LIAR (15) THE LIGHT CINEMA, WISBECH, OUT NOW
STARRING: HELEN MIRREN, IAN MCKELLEN, RUSSELL TOVEY AND JIM CARTER
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 49 MINS DIRECTOR: BILL CONDON
Sometimes you leave the cinema and you're really not sure about the film you've just watched. Was it good or was it a complete waste of time? And on rare occasions, even the following day, you still can't really answer those questions. The Good Liar is a case in point.
Guaranteed positives are that it's starring screen legends Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen so you know you're watching two of England's finest actors. It's also great to see 'oldies' cast in leading roles - good actors are never past their sell-by date and these two look like they had the time of their lives filming it.
The movie starts at a gentle pace as we are introduced to career conman Roy Courtnay (McKellen) who is targeting his latest victim, recently widowed Betty McLeish (Mirren), worth millions.
We know what he is up to and we suspect she's not as innocent as she seems - it would be a pretty miserable story if not: conman plunders wealthy widow, the end.
So when the swindle escalates into something totally different, we shouldn't be surprised - but we are, because the way things take a turn as the plot is suddenly thrown back 60 years is totally unexpected and this is the point where you question whether it's a fantastic plot twist or complete lunacy.
Back to the modern day and there are even more changes of direction in the story... although these are far more in kilter with the thriller we were all expecting.
McKellen is almost too lovely to hate as we see the three sides of Roy - faithful companion, rakish rogue and sly villian - but he carries all three off with the startling skill that has seen him stay at the forefront of his profession for an amazing 50-plus years.
Mirren too is wonderful. Famed for being such a sexy septuagenarian, she does dowdy to perfection, but it's still wonderful to see her looking her best during the show's final scenes, ones where the final twist shows the fate of Roy.
Some people will love this, others will think it's bonkers. I think I'm stuck in the middle.
Rating: 7/10 By Jeremy Ransome