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George At 

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The Good LIar

I was taken back to some classic Hitchcock thrillers watching 2019's very enjoyable THE GOOD LIAR.

Ian McKellen is superb and wily as lifetime con man Roy Courtnay. Professionally dark, clever and quick on his feet, Roy's been swindling folks out of their money for decades.

As the film opens, Roy is chatting online with widow Betty McLeish (a perfectly cast Helen Mirren).

Meeting for drinks, they grow fond of each other. The story very cleverly moves fluidly from the Roy that Betty knows to swindler Roy's life, which he's managing to live simultaneously.

As they grow closer, Betty's grandson Stephen (Russell Tovey) grows suspicious of Roy and tries again and again to separate them. Betty grows more resentful and sides with Roy.

But that's all in the first half hour. What the film has in store for you is much more complicated and intriguing than a domestic drama about dating seniors. I won't spoil any of its secrets, but its like a set of nesting Russian dolls with secret inside motivation inside secret.

Jim Carter (Mr. Carson on Downton Abbey) is great as Roy's longtime partner-in-swindel Vincent.

The London locales add a lot to the proceedings and the 4K, Dolby Atmos version on Apple TV4K blasts your eyeballs out with atmosphere. The city has never looked more inviting nor the suburbs more menacing.

Director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods & Monsters) keeps his grip on you, even as the story starts to jump in time to post WW2 London for key scenes that inform the present.

McKellen and Mirren are as good as it gets. McKellen shifts seamlessly between kindly, harmless man to one very dangerous cat.

You're never quite sure just how many levels of deception are on display, but they are brilliantly navigated to a hugely satisfying finale.

Sit back, enjoy and unwrap THE GOOD LIAR, it gets an A. All is not what it seems.

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