Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Michelle Williams, Bruce Altman, Andrew Ginsburg
Director: Marcel Langenegger
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
An accountant is introduced to a mysterious, sex-dating club known as The List by his lawyer friend. He becomes enthralled in this new lifestyle, but he soon becomes the prime suspect in a womanâ??s disappearance and a mul... more »
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Sex, Lies, and Accounting
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 04/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Deception" is to the thriller genre what a pulp detective novel is to literature: it's a guilty pleasure that satisfies, even though something better is always an option. I never believed that this story was in any way, shape, or form possible, but I certainly had fun watching it. As the title suggests, many of the characters are intentionally giving off the wrong impression, and by the time we discover their true natures, something new is revealed. This isn't to say that the film is overloaded with plot twists; the mystery eventually comes to an end with little confusion, and that's good for anyone who actually wants to follow along with the details. I will say that I was concerned entering the theater, because let's face it--a title like "Deception" makes one wonder just how far it will go to fool the audience.
We're immediately introduced to Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor), a timid accountant for some unnamed firm in New York City. While working late, he meets Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman), an extremely charismatic attorney. He instantaneously gets on McQuarry's good side, first by sharing a joint with him, second by involving him in activities he would never be a part of. They become friends, but it's obvious that something sinister is lurking behind Bose's devilish smile. McQuarry begins to discover this when the two accidentally switch cell phones during a lunch meeting--while Bose is supposedly on a London business trip, McQuarry keeps getting phone calls from women who ask if he's available, believing he's Bose. Feeling emboldened, McQuarry decides to take one of the women up on her offer and meet at a hotel.
And that's when he discovers that Bose is part of a sex club that caters to people interested in one-night stands. McQuarry eventually meets a Wall Street belle (Charlotte Rampling) who states the two basic rules: no rough stuff, and no names. In this seemingly harmless world of casual sex, McQuarry eventually meets a woman known only as S (Michelle Williams). Both are initially uncomfortable because they realize they had met before in a subway station. To alleviate the tension, they break the rules and actually strike up long-winded conversations. They also go on dinner dates from time to time. What they don't do is share their real names. However, McQuarry seems to think that a romance is developing, so it seems likely that all such missing pieces will eventually fall into place.
Then again, maybe they won't. When both stay in a Chinatown hotel, McQuarry returns to his room only to be knocked unconscious by a masked assailant, just as he notices that the bed sheets are stained with blood. He comes to hours later--not only are the bed sheets perfectly clean, S is nowhere to be found. It would seem that McQuarry has unknowingly been drawn into something much bigger than he thought, and what's worse, it has everything to do with Wyatt Bose. I won't reveal who he really is, what he plans to do, why he wants to do it, how he involves McQuarry, and what has happened to S, but rest assured that it's all about as sinister as you expect it to be, and no more. At a certain point, McQuarry accuses Bose of being a liar: "Those weren't lies," Bose says maliciously. "That was foreplay." I can't quote the rest of that line for censorship reasons, but believe me when I say that the next bit of dialogue was oddly satisfying.
The same can be said for the movie as a whole, even if the story is less believable than Michelle William's bleach blonde hair. I found myself caught up in the suspense, the way it slowly built itself before going right to light speed at the start of the third act. McQuarry is much more resourceful at that point, which is expected not only because his life is in jeopardy, but also because he begins the film as a mousy nobody. Then again, I'm not entirely sure he changes by the end of the movie--his love for S is motivating him more than anything else, which is odd considering he little he knows about her, least of all her name. Following her so blindly just doesn't seem logical. But I don't think logic is what the filmmakers were aiming for. "Deception" is a good old-fashioned mystery, adhering strictly to a formula of pure entertainment; chances are you'll find the plot twists more interesting than the coherence of the story.
The same can be said for the performances, which are only as good as this film allows them to be. Jackman isn't much of a surprise here, since his role doesn't call for anything grander than being a villain. McGregor, on the other hand, reveals a refreshing new side to his personality. Being small and meek is a lot harder to pull off than being the tough guy--you need to be shy and vulnerable while making it look like you're desperate to prove something. I sensed that from his character and appreciated it, despite the fact that the story didn't always support it. But since I didn't expect anything more or less than what was delivered, I guess it's okay. I got my money's worth from "Deception," and you will too as long as you're able to suspend disbelief and go with the flow. It's like being a client in an underground sex club--everyone can go home happy as long as no questions are asked."
Interesting character studies and excellent performances
Reader | Asia | 05/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What made the movie very good viewing are the interesting character studies and the excellent portrayals by the two lead actors. Jonathan leads a rather lonely life as a CPA who does not even develop any ties with the people on whose work he passes judgment on. When Wyatt comes into his life and opens a new and exciting world beyond the glass towers of corporate Manhattan, he is wide-eyed and smiling to himself with his discovery. Wyatt is all smooth-talking and self-assured, professionally and socially, while pressing a hidden agenda. What I liked most about the movie is the phase when these two men, seemingly from two different worlds, interact and a fraternal bond seemed to have developed. As if they have suddenly become the best of friends and share intimate secrets.
The movie traces how this initial bond becomes a vehicle for committing a crime ( stealing millions from questionable sources and taking advantage of how these transactions can pass through the international payment systems without being caught immediately) and how the seemingly good friend unravels his intentions to coerce the cooperation of the mousy accountant. The twist is how the accountant foils the villain's intention, a solution made in accountant heaven ( with their dogma of "check and balance"!).
The parade of attractive women adds some zest to the story but I think it is the interaction of the two characters which is the essence of the story.
Ewan McGregor is excellent as the mousy accountant and leads one to sympathize with his character easily. Hugh Jackman, in a departure from his usual heroic roles, is the antagonist in this story and he delivers the performance in a refreshing manner. The change from his suave and likable Wyatt to someone who forcefully intimidates his friend towards committing the crime is chilling. Hugh Jackman proves further how his acting range has become so much more varied, following his acting revelations in The Prestige and The Fountain.
I would like to see both actors in another future team-up!
Exciting thriller and excellent performances
Reader | Asia | 08/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed this thriller with its neo-noir look ( very evocative of Manhattan) and its excellent casting and performances. The plot is credible, even if some of the twists are probably a little too easy to project. But the buildup is tension-filled and the resolution is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the profession of the main protagonist ( certainly a made-in-accountant-heaven solution!). The most memorable scenes are the bonding moments between two unlikely friends in a world where it could be very lonely if you didn't belong! In this case, the club was a sex club, populated by successful New York financial community professionals looking for "intimacy without the intricacy" ( in the words of the character portrayed by Charlotte Rampling, in a cameo).
I particularly liked the excellent performances. There is the very good performance from Ewan McGregor as the low-key, fun-starved auditor who plods along from one audit job to another. He embues his characterization with the right timidity and somewhat awed regard for his new-found friend and social mentor. Hugh Jackman is equally outstanding in a dramatic shift from his usual leading-man roles, this time as a villain with a criminal agenda. He is suave, sophisticated, and self-assured but when he forces the timid Jonathan to pursue a major international fraud, he is chilling! Very credible portrayal from Jackman, who is increasingly taking on more and more varied screen roles ( his 1-2 acting punch in The Prestige and The Fountain still stuns). Perhaps it is the theatre background of both Jackman and McGregor which allows them to switch to different character roles in the movies with ease and credibility. Michelle Williams projects the right amount of vulnerability in a role that is key to the plot.
Go get the DVD, if you missed the movie in the cinema!"
White bread, bologna, no mayo
J. O. Booker | St. Louis Mo. | 09/30/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"That's about how exciting this movie was. Don't blame the actors though, they tried. In the end, Deception was the proverbial "silk purse on a sow's ear"--the silk purse being the actors, the cinematography--the technical infrastructure of the film; the sow's ear being the script, which reminded me of so many other movies that I'd seen and also didn't like.
The storyline involves an isolated timid accountant (Ewen McGregor)and his chance--cliche'd meeting with a cool, sophisticated, and charismatic corporate lawyer (Hugh Jackman)who introduces McGregor's shy character to a world of corporate hi-rise whore-houses. After sexing a thousand call-girls in just about every yoga position imaginable, McGregor's numbed "sexually awakened" character comes full-circle--being a stud isn't all that he thought it would be. Involuntarily, he falls for one of his many call-girls, a limp, beautiful blonde who happens to be in cahoots with Jackman's character to blackmail McGregor into moving millions into an offshore banking account.
See, I told you that you'd seen this film before. Throughout Deception--fitting title--I anticipated that big moment--that surprise--that would ease the slow pregnant feeling growing from my stomach into the seat of my pants. When the end-credits scrolled down the screen I realized that I'd just wasted two hours of my life--two hours that I'll never see again--on a bad movie. If you like good cinematography, professional--and dry-- acting, and sex see deception. If you want to see a decent movie, save your money and your time."