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Bill Condon
Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Russell Tovey
Writing Credits:
Jeffrey Hatcher

Consummate con man Roy Courtnay sets his sights on the recently widowed Betty McLeish, but he finds himself with a surprising challenge.

Box Office:
$10 million.
Opening Weekend
$5,605,051 on 2439 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 109 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 2/4/2020

• “A Perfect Match” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Good Liar [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 13, 2020)

Given that Helen Mirren’s film career started in 1967 and Ian McKellen’s began in 1969, one assumes the much-lauded pair of actors shared the screen many times. Nope – instead, it turns out that 2019’s The Good Liar offers their first-ever gig together.

Set in London circa 2009, Roy Courtnay (McKellen) operates as a con man. Among other sleazy endeavors, he meets widows on Internet dating sites and uses them for their savings.

Thus Roy encounters Betty McLeish (Mirren), a grandmother still not over the fairly recent loss of her husband. Using all his much-practiced charm, Roy ingratiates his way into Betty’s life, and although the relationship remains platonic, before long he winds up cohabitating with her.

Roy engages in the “long con”, as he plans to wheedle his way into Betty’s $2 million-plus savings. However, he finds unexpected obstacles along the way.

Unexpected for Roy the character but not so much for the audience. While I can’t claim that I saw every plot twist in advance, most seem pretty obvious.

Given that Liar needs to succeed as an on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense film, that becomes a massive flaw. When the viewer can decode the various curveballs well before they occur, any potential thrills drop to near zero.

It doesn’t help that Liar takes an awfully long time to get where it wants to go, mainly because it explores a lot of semi-tangential sidebeats. Granted, it ties these to the main plot by the end, but they still feel unnecessary, and a better-told tale could’ve gotten where it needed to go without them.

Director Bill Condon won an Oscar as a screenwriter, but for Liar, Jeffrey Hatcher handles that task. Would a Condon-penned script have elevated this often-tiresome tale? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s clear Hatcher can’t figure out how to make the journey compelling.

We spend most of our time with Roy, and like other at-the-time perplexing choices, this becomes more understandable by the end. However, Liar doesn’t make the most of these moments, and they tend to cause the story to drag.

The viewer knows that twists will come eventually, as that’s a staple of the genre. Rather than build tension, the tangents we follow with Roy simply feel like window dressing, as they don’t expand our understanding of the characters much.

Face it: even with revelations that pop up late in the film, Roy offers a pretty stock con man character. Betty gets her own surprise reveals, but those don’t alter her trajectory a whole lot either, so we mostly find ourselves stuck in a sluggish journey toward Roy’s inevitable comeuppance.

Should that count as a spoiler? Not really, as genre fans realize the likelihood that our slimy lead will get away with his crimes seems minimal at best.

Any potential fun comes from the trip toward Roy’s fate, but with so many predictable twists, Liar can’t muster much excitement in that vein. It takes far too long to get where it needs to go, and when the bombshells drop, they seem too uninspiring to improve matters.

At a basic level, it should be enjoyable to see legends like McKellen and Mirren onscreen together, but the dull nature of the project robs their scenes of much charm. Both seem to be on cruise control, as if they realize the script’s flaws and don’t want to bother to break a sweat.

I can’t blame them, as I’d feel pretty unenthused if I wound up stuck in this turkey. A dull stab at a thriller, Good Liar falls flat.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

The Good Liar appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a strong presentation.

Overall, sharpness seemed very good. A little softness crept into interiors, but most of the film appeared accurate and concise.

Jagged edges and moiré effects didn’t mar the presentation, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

In terms of palette, Liar went with a fairly teal orientation. A lot of amber/orange appeared as well, and we found splashes of other hues on occasion. Within stylistic choices, the hues seemed well-depicted.

Blacks were dark and dense, and low-light shots gave us good clarity. I felt pleased with this solid transfer.

Similar thoughts greeted the fairly good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Liar, as the soundfield mostly delivered a mix heavy on atmosphere. Environmental noises cropped up in the side and rear speakers, and action moments added to the track. Those elements created a nice sense of place and added impact to the material.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full.

Effects were accurate and dynamic, while low-end response showed good warmth and richness. Nothing here dazzled, but the audio merited a “B”.

A featurette called A Perfect Match fills 13 minutes, one second. It includes notes from producer Greg Yolen, director Bill Condon, author Nicholas Searle, screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher, production designer John Stevenson, visual effects supervisor Glenn Pratt, and actors Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Jim Carter and Russell Tovey.

“Match” looks at the source novel and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, and Condon’s impact as director. Despite its relatively brief running time, “Match” acts as an efficient production overview.

Eight Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 12 minutes, 41 seconds. Most of these provide minor plot filler moments that spell out some details but feel inessential. Some also alter potential tension too much.

Also unimportant in the grand scheme of things, the most fun segments shows the dates Roy and Betty went on prior to their meeting. This does nothing to advance the plot, but at least it entertains.

The disc opens with ads for Richard Jewell, Doctor Sleep and The Goldfinch. No trailer for Liar appears here.

With Oscar-caliber talent on both sides of the camera, The Good Liar should become a slam-dunk winner. Unfortunately, its brain-dead script ensures that it never lives up to its massive potential. The Blu-ray delivers very good picture and audio but it lacks substantial bonus materials. Chalk up Liar as a major disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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