The real measure of a clever script in a suspense film is the aha moment at the end when the viewer realizes that there were clues scattered throughout the film which were either missed or more likely misinterpreted. In other words, the writer or director’s talent was in pulling you in the direction he orchestrated and doing that so well that you failed to connect the dots that were there all along. Hitchcock spoke about providing the audience with a suggestion and sufficient information to figure out the rest. This is a challenge in film since the audience only sees what the director allows us to see but frequently, on second view, you will realize that a line of dialogue, or something in the background, on the night table or hanging on the coat rack might have helped to solve the puzzle.
The Good Liar is the opposite of this - it belongs in the tradition of the entire plot turning out to have been a dream. Its success is solely a tribute to STAR POWER, the ability of two senior actors who are so comfortable in front of the camera that we could watch them having dinner in real time without getting bored. The plot is so farfetched that neither the action in the present, nor the flashback to the past makes any sense. The denouement is so unrealistic that we are left with just a one word comment: whatever. Since it’s impossible to prove this to you without giving away all the connivances, I can only say that it’s not unpleasant to spend some time with Helen Mirren and Ian Mckellen, even at the expense of being had.
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