Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Sexual Content, Language, brief Violence and some Drug Use
Directed by: Marcel Langenegger
Written by: Mark Bomback
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Maggie Q, Lisa Gay Hamilton & Natasha Henstridge
Who knew sex clubs and murder could be so dull? That seems to the overarching theme of this undercooked and oversold thriller that accomplishes nothing other than passing two hours of time in complete boredom. DECEPTION didn’t make nearly enough to break even during its theatrical run and was avoided by many moviegoers (hitting #10 at the box office in its opening weekend). This glossy and hollow flick doesn’t offer much material to begin with, so this is likely to be a fairly short review warning of why not to indulge in DECEPTION.
Jonathan McQuarry is a shy accountant on the verge of hitting a big new job. One night, he befriends Wyatt Bose, a charismatic lawyer who introduces Jonathan to a wilder side of town (complete with strip clubs and recreational drug use). Wyatt gets Jonathan to become a member of “The List”, an exclusive and anonymous sex club with certain rules. Enjoying this more erotic lifestyle, Jonathan finds himself infatuated with one young woman in particular, known only as “S.” However, not all is as it seems and Wyatt might be deceiving Jonathan which could possibly lead to Jonathan deceiving Wyatt and by the end of the film, everybody is deceiving everybody else and nothing makes much sense.
The biggest draws to see DECEPTION are featured front and center on the poster. You have an erotic thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman in a game of mental cat-and-mouse with each other. This could have been awesome if these characters were worth caring about and performances weren’t so lackluster. As Jonathan, Ewan McGregor is embarrassingly bad. McGregor uses a horrible American accent that sounds like he’s doing an impression of Woody Allen and goes so over-the-top with his shyness that it’s embarrassing. Hugh Jackman doesn’t fare much better as the hammy Wyatt. There isn’t a lot of development given to this character and that might “lend” itself to revelations later on, but he’s just not that interesting as a bad guy. Jackman does seem to be putting some effort into his role, but his clichéd villain isn’t worth caring about.
DECEPTION looks visually slick, but that doesn’t count for much if the story is painfully boring. Running at almost two hours in length, the clichéd script just trudges through a mindless and pointless plot. The twists don’t make a lot of sense and contradict earlier scenes. Characters make a lot of stupid decisions that have no rhyme or reason other than to keep the plot dragging lifelessly on until the end credits. Since little effort was put into carving out solid characters, I can’t exactly say that it betrayed anything developed earlier as they could all naturally be the biggest idiots committed to film (especially, Ewan McGregor’s Jonathan). The entire movie is stupid, but not even on a level that might be fun to laugh at in a “so bad it’s good” way. It’s just plain dumb and tedious to sit through.
DECEPTION becomes the worst kind of the thriller by not thrilling the viewer onto the edge of their seat and instead lulling them into a near unconscious state. This was a waste of time and money on the part of everyone involved. The dull, ridiculous script insults the audience’s intelligence and squanders the A-list actors. Aside from posting this review, this movie wasted my time…just like it will waste your time, if you bother with it. Your key goal is to not be deceived into thinking there’s a single shred of redeemable quality in this steaming pile of cinematic garbage passing itself off as a smart thriller. Avoid this movie!