Friday, April 25, 2008


“Not lies Jonathan. That was foreplay; now you’re fucked!”

Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor) is an accountant. Like all accountants in movies his life has no purpose outside his job, which involves auditing the books of large corporations.

At work one day Jonathan bumps into Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman) who strikes up a friendship with our guy. Through an “accident” Jonathan finds himself lost in Wyatt’s world of an underground sex club known simply as The List. He has anonymous sexual encounters with many women before falling for a one of the girls (Michelle Williams) who he once saw on the subway.

Here’s where things get dicey. Wyatt, whose name isn’t Wyatt, kidnaps the young woman and forces Jonathan to steal money from the next company he is scheduled to audit.

The movie’s plot relies on coincidence and unlikely twists. For Wyatt’s scam to work he has to be seen in the company Jonathan is auditing, talking with people, and never getting noticed as an intruder. Good thing large companies don’t have security, right?

Wyatt’s plan also relies on Jonathan falling for the Michelle Williams character who we know only as “S” because of a tag on her purse. Isn’t it just as likely he would fall for one of the other women on The List such as Natasha Henstridge, Paz de la Huerta, Daisy Bates, Shannan Click, Jordan Testay, Maggie Q, or Charlotte Rampling?

The film further muddies the plot with a Police Detective (Lisa Gay Harden) who doesn’t believe Jonathan’s story of a kidnapped girl, until she suddenly does and thinks he’s a killer. Such large leaps in logic are commonplace here. Despite the fact that Jonathan has Wyatt’s phone which keeps getting sent text and picture messages which prove he’s kidnapped “S,” Jonathan never thinks that this might be something he should share with the police.

Things get even less believable later in the film involving fake passports (which materialize out of nowhere), a final twist (which you should see coming long before Jonathan), a twist relying on Jackman and McGregor looking so much alike (?), and a ridiculous ending which would have stretched all believability to the breaking point if it hadn’t already been broken much earlier in the film.

Deception wants to be smart and secretive, but doesn’t allow the characters enough brains to carry it off. Jonathan, and Wyatt for that matter, are just smart enough to keep following the plot and just stupid enough to keep screwing up and leaving evidence around for anyone, except our rather dim Police Detective, to find. Although the acting isn’t too bad, the plot sinks the film early on and leaves us with a sleazy skin-flick murder mystery more at home on Cinemax than the movie theater.

No comments: