"Often do the spirits of great events stride on before the events, and in today already, walks tomorrow." - Coleridge
Deception is a neo noir thriller. Staring Ewan McGregor as a Jonathan an outside auditor who reviews the books of large law and financial firms on Wall St. Hugh Jackman plays Wyatt Bose who poses as a lawyer at a firm being audited. Michelle Williams, the love interest, plays a beautiful woman that Jonathan meets through a sex club. Jonathan unwittingly becomes a member of the club through Wyatt’s deception intended as a trap to coerce Jonathan to do his bidding.
The cinematography by Dante Spinotti is excellent. It is shot in a bleached color for the modern noir effect seen before in The Game and Fight Club. The acting is excellent. The direction is good by Marcel Langenegger . The picture is technically good. However it is understated at times perhaps deliberately but it doesn’t work.
First it runs into trouble with the plot. It is slow at points but worse these characters don’t act like people so we don’t completely suspend our disbelief. This is especially true with an ambiguous and contrived ending. However noir thriller fans will enjoy the effort and see what could have been. It should be judged against the genre and not against the absurd action or lowlife comedies that seem to glut the screen and vacuum up movie revenue. It is worth seeing for what it attempts.
Another problem is that Michelle Williams, we don’t learn her characters name until late in the film, is too beautiful and fragile to make a convincing femme fatale even in the dénouement at the end of the film or as a member of a sex club. Charlotte Rampling is cast as a member of the sex club and she is obviously much older than the other club members.
Usually the edits or cuts in thrillers are rapid and sharp to keep the viewer on edge to the point of disorientation and to make it difficult to piece the puzzle together until to the end or when the viewer is driving home or maybe even the next day. Well this film doesn’t have that rapid fire style and you know early on Michelle Williams is going to part of the deception. If they name the film Deception you know there will be a deception and not just the one Wyatt pulls on Jonathan at the beginning of the picture.
Perhaps the film would be more cohesive if Michelle Williams took the Jackman part, then she would certainly be a femme fatale like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, and you wouldn’t need the part she plays. It would make for a tighter more tense screen play or another (Maggie Q is in the film in a minor part) woman could play her part and Jackman could be a policeman. I digress too far. The picture has a lot of talent in front of and behind the camera and is worth a look. I rate it a B for effort.