Top critical review
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Good but not the best
on 27 August 2008
In many areas, Deception is a bit of a disappointment. The script is poor, enough so that the top quality actors struggle a little with some of the cheese, the plot twists are a little too obvious and occasionally slapdash, and I left watching the film feeling that the full potential for the film itself hadn't been reached. Half of the problems seem to be caused by a lack of decent characterisation. Unless you're a bored accountant yourself, you might need a little more on Ewan MG's character to fully care what's happening to him, and I have to admit even in the dullest moment of my working life I think I might shy away from accepting drugs from a random colleague I'd never seen before in the middle of a meeting room (even if it is late at night). To emphasise the character's weedy/boring status, he is dressed in possibly the worst clothing - wait till you see the underwear, which is presumably what all good bashful boys are wearing this season - although I assume that the clothing is there to help the pretence that Hugh Jackman could look like Ewan MacGregor at one stage in the plot. McGregor's outfit basically turns into a character costume, which just seems like an easy way for the script to answer things and on a practical front is damned risky on the part of Jackman's character.
Saying that, there are some good moments in the film and these are the reasons why I have bought it myself. Sure, the plot is cheesy and obvious and won't be winning any awards for originality any time soon (or even for a good adaption of a theme). The camera work looks a little amateurish for some reason, which does distract from the actors and situation. However, there are some scenes which are worth sitting through the more cringe worthy points - I particularly like McGregor's initial forays into the sex club, and more the point the women's amused reaction to him. Jackman is wasted in it, but is blatantly having fun when he does his "evil" scenes and this does come across well - it's these scenes that give some of the more memorable quotes from the film. Michelle Williams gives a reasonable performance, but then again she's never given much to work with and what she does is probably the best out of the lot. The person I do feel sorry for is Ewan McGregor. I'm not a particular fan of his, but he is a good actor and he seems destined to get into roles which limit his acting. He is also a good looking man, which meant that a lot of unnecessary hair gel was used in order to make him into the geek that apparently the character was (I hope accountants get hair gel as part of their expenses if this is the case). You just want to enter him in some type of makeover programme after about half an hour. His utter naivity with regards to Jackman's character is also a little odd - sure, dismiss the considerations if you'd like as he's desperate for friendship, but at least have the thoughts running through his head at some stage. He is, after all, supposed to be used to fraud cases. At the start I wasn't entirely sure whether Jackman was trying to chat him up due to his sudden and somewhat excessive attention that seemed over the top to just "hey, we're both blokes stuck doing a boring job, let's be pals". Mind you, depending on your perspective this is no bad thing.
Ultimately, if you're a fan of one of the principle actors then you'd probably want to purchase this DVD and, like me, find parts of it that are worthy of rewatching. However, if you're just after a good thriller then you might find yourself frustrated and a little bored after a while. There are much better films by all three actors out there, and certainly better thrillers. The erotic areas of the film are ok, but nothing particularly special (hampered again by the camera work) and the whole sex club aspect definitely wasn't utilised enough and might even cause more disappointment if you're watching the film because there's a sex club with Jackman, Williams and McGregor involved. Vodaphone presumably would have been delighted by the amount of phone use as well.
All in all, I'd say it rated an average 3 stars, dropping to 2 if you're not a particular fan of the actors.