WHAT starts out as a Saga version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels takes a very dark turn – and it’s all the better for it.
Helen Mirren is Betty, a widow looking for love online.
Ian McKellen is Roy, who is doing exactly the same, except that behind his bumbling fool routine, he is a particularly spiteful conman.
Not content with ripping off greedy businessmen with the promise of Russian riches, his head is turned by Betty’s large nest egg and even larger heart.
As the story develops and Roy’s crime starts to take shape, small chinks in his armour show – mainly through the continued suspicions of Betty’s grandson Steven (Russell Tovey).
Their journey takes them on a trip to Berlin and we start to sense that perhaps all is not as it seems on either side of the table.
This is a strange film. McKellen is excellent and duplicitous, but the movie’s surprises are somewhat spoiled by Mirren.
Because although she is as compelling as ever, you spend the vast majority of the film waiting for her to get going, knowing full well she simply does not play wallflowers.
That and Sir Ian’s annoying harumphing and groaning punctuating every scene rather took the shine off its many twists and turns.
The malevolence alluded to plus some graphic flashes of violence and hilariously strong language give this film a surprisingly brutal edge, setting it apart from it’s rather twee and farcical beginnings.
A solid film from two absolute greats.
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