Review - Deception: Basic Instinct it isn’t!
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First time director Marcel Langenegger gets together two A list actors, Hugh Jack man and Ewan McGregor in a film that aspires to be a Noir thriller. Visuals of city streets at night, of skyscrapers lit up like Christmas candles, of plush hotel rooms cloaked in anonymous neon, unfortunately a noir film do not make. What a film like this requires is a clever, well developed script, and believable characters.
There are three main characters: the nerdy accountant who leads a life so dull and colorless that watching numbers scroll on his laptop gives him the biggest thrill (there is a horrible line where he says that it is all about order and symmetry, really!). A cool, smooth, assured man of the world oh so fit and physical. And the femme fatale, all golden blond locks, long legs, and pouty mouth.
The characters remain superficial; the script does not help us understand their peculiar idiosyncrasies nor their motivations. They seem to have been specifically brought to life so that a film could be made. The first part of the film has the accountant and the man of the world coming together, and then a very obvious screenplay twist is made to account for the transformation of the accountant’s world.
And then it gets worse, every cliché is played out, and the film rambles towards the climax. Now, here is where the director could have kept it short and taut, the climax that is. Unfortunately he is undecided whether he should wrap things up neatly; throw in a revenge angle, or have a feel good ending. He ends up having a little bit of everything, which really spoils it all. The climax is unconvincing, and feels very stretched.
A good noir film works when it transports everyday characters into a world that is not so obvious; a world that lurks just around the next corner in the mean streets of the city. For that the script has to have a good build up and create characters that we can believe in. Here what we have is caricatures rather than characters, and that just wrecks the film.
Both Jackman and Ewan McGregor seem to have done the film only for the money and nothing else. The actress playing the femme fatale has nothing to do but look good and alternate between tears and laughter.
The only good thing for me was to see the delightful Charlotte Rampling on screen in a brief cameo. I wonder what she was doing there, though!
This review is by guest reviewer Anand S. Anand lives in Pune and is a Miscellaneous Culture Vulture. He is deeply interested in music, food, books, films, and intelligent women. He views himself as a Falstaffian figure, who does his best to indulge his appetites.
Deception - Movie Details
- Producer: Hugh Jackman, Robbie Brenner
- Director: Marcel Langenegger
- Lead Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams
- Supporting Cast: Lisa Gay Hamilton, Charlotte
- Story: Mark Bomback
- Cinematography: Dante Spinotti
- Editor: Douglas Crise, Christian Wagner
- Music Director: Ramin Djawadi
- Costume Designer: Sue Gandy
- Art Direction: John Kasarda
- Running time: 100 minutes
- Reviewer: Anand S
- Language: English
- Country: USA
- Genres: Crime, Noir, Thriller