‘The Good Liar’ is a compelling, emotional film adaptation of the book by Nicholas Searle with a shocking ending that leaves the viewer in awe.

With a brilliant performance from both the antagonist Roy (played by Sir Ian McKellen) and the protagonist Betty (played by Helen Mirren), this American thriller invokes a sense of satisfaction through its unexpected ending.

Bill Condon does a fantastic job of directing and Virginia Katz is an impressive editor, achieving relatively seamless transitions between scenes throughout. The flashbacks scattered through the film were easy to follow and enhanced the memories of the characters.

However, the plot is the truly commendable aspect of the production as the audience is perfectly deceived. The film begins slowly, setting the scene by opening with a humourous online interaction between the lead characters, followed by their cliché first date. As the plot gathers speed, we are convinced we have the plot figured out: this is a simple, predictable case of dramatic irony. After a sudden plot-twist our assumptions are turned on their head and the audience is truly on the edge of their seat until the very end.

Helen Mirren’s brilliant acting appeals to our sympathy for the elderly and vulnerable population as we yearn to be able to help her and tell her the truth about her con-man companion. Throughout the middle, it is impossible to tell when Roy is lying to Betty and when he is telling the truth, making it all the more intriguing. This is owing to Sir Ian McKellan’s superb embodiment of a con-man. 

The costume was also done well as both the current outfits and flashback outfits fit the setting well and all actors were dressed age-appropriately. Underlining this, the locations for the movie were well chosen and were realistic. 

The instrumental audio was well incorporated and acted as a warning to the audience when an important event was about to occur, adding to the tension. However, this tension was almost only created by the music as there were few visual indications before a dramatic event.

The penultimate scene is emotional, involving descriptions of the rape and loss through suicide experienced by Betty in her childhood. We see the immense strength and courage of the female lead which is empowering to all young women.

Though not at all focused around this element, the movie was sure to be LGBT+ inclusive as in the final scene we see that Betty’s grandchildren are a gay couple. This is a subtle but nice touch.

The IMDb rating of 6.5/10 does not do this film justice and the Den of Greek rating of 4/5 is much more representative of its brilliance. 

Having attended the showing of this movie in the Everyman cinema in Walton-on-Thames, I found it was an unmatched and original experience. With its comfortable sofas creating a homely atmosphere, the small size of the screen rooms adds to the intimacy of the viewing. 

The only downside is the rather expensive price of the tickets and no option of a cheaper teenage ticket like in Odeon cinemas. Despite this, the experience was worth it and I would highly recommend both the cinema and the movie. This cinema adds to the character of the town and is a favourite venue for many who live here. There are 27 other Everyman cinemas throughout London which are definitely worth a visit.