The Good Liar

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I've been picking through the DVD selections at Netflix, looking for movies we missed queueing up when they first became available. Sometimes we pick a winner, like this one: a nice, nasty little crime drama. Needless to say: Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen ensure the acting will be first-rate. And everything else is pretty good too.

McKellen plays a ruthless con artist named Gandalf   Magneto   Roy. He and his buddy Vincent (Jim Carter, aka Downton Abbey butler Carson) play classic investment scams on people with a lot of money, who want to have even more money.

Ms. Mirren plays Betty, shaping up to be Roy's newest patsy. They're set up via a computer dating site, where both of them aren't entirely honest about their profiles. Never mind, because Betty's a lonely widow, and succumbs to Roy's polished charms. No sex, please, we're British. But the objections of Betty's skeptical grandson are ignored, and Roy moves into Betty's modest, boring beige home. Soon enough the scam appears…

Will Ray succeed in duping Betty? No spoilers here, but (let's face it) it would be a pretty uninteresting movie if his plan goes off flawlessly. What actually develops is unexpected, shocking, … well, check it out. I didn't see it coming.