Deception – Blu-ray Review

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There is good debate on whether or not great acting and/or star power can overcome a poor story with significant plot holes? The quick answer is no, at least if you simply want to know if a film is great or not. But in some cases great acting can make poorly written films better than they seem to be. That doesn’t necessarily mean the film is great, but at least it is considered better than it could have been if it had starred different actors. Other times, not even great acting can save a poorly written film. Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, and Michelle Williams have all become known as great actors. The question here, though, is what kind of impact would these three actors have on a sensual thriller entitled Deception?

In Deception, Ewan McGregor stars as Jonathan McQuarry, a straight-laced accountant who befriends a charismatic executive Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman). One day a cell phone mix-up leads Jonathan to an illicit sex club called “The List”. It’s there that Jonathan, after sleeping his way through half of New York City, finds himself falling for one of the ladies on the “The List” known only as “S” (Michelle Williams). At this point, the fast life starts to go terribly wrong, and Wyatt’s less-than-savory motives start become more clear.

The acting is definitely top-notch here. Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman are both great leading men; their pairing here is fantastic. Jackman has usually played only “heroes” in previous films. It’s nice to see him play a villain for a change. Michelle Williams plays the “mysterious lady” role to perfection. She has great chemistry with McGregor and Jackman. The only complaint you could have about the cast is McGregor in the lead role is a slight miscast. McGregor is supposed to be playing this shy and naive character. He looks too good and appears too smart to be playing this type of character.

It shows the weaknesses of this film, the script and direction. From the beginning we know how this story is going to end. Despite the best efforts from the cinematographer, the only suspense we have is not knowing why Hugh Jackman’s character is doing what he is doing to McGregor’s character. In addition, it’s not quite as obvious what role the character of “S” plays into this all? But like most thrillers you really have to suspend disbelief to buy what is going on during this movie, especially towards the end. It doesn’t help that a first time film director is directing this film and Jackman is one of the producers. Jackman obviously loves the material here and he is given free range to do whatever he wants to do. Maybe he’s too close to everything to notice the obvious holes in the script.

The characters in Deception are engaging enough for the most part. The acting is definitely fantastic but great acting can not always overcome a poor script. The acting at least makes this film watchable, but the lack of credibility and almost total predictability really hurt this film. In addition, the whole “sex club” part of this film seems to be just thrown in here to add some kind of “sizzle” to the film and provide a “hook” that will hopefully drive people to the theaters. Deception could have been a decent thriller, and it certainly looks good, but in the end only the terrific acting saves this film from being a “direct-to-DVD” release or even thrown into the trash can all together.

The video is presented in 1080p/AVC at the 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen color ratio, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs of course. The video transfer is great. There is hardly any noticable graininess, and the colors and details pop out on the screen. No major problems at all.

The audio included is available in either English DTS-HD 5.1 Master sound, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, or French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear, but overall the audio quality is not as spectactular as the video quality, but the audio falls right in line with the film.

Blu-Ray Exclusives

“A Passionate Process: Dissecting Deception” Feature
This is an option to watch the film in picture-in-picture form with the “making-of” information, found in other extras, playing in one window. So basically all of the background information on various characters and storylines in the film are talked about, while that scene or character is on the screen. Pretty unique.

Found on Standard Edition As Well…

Audio Commentary
There is a full-length commentary with the director, Marcel Langenegger. Not that entertaining, but a lot of information is given about the film.
Not “must-listen to” material, though.

“Exposing Deception: Making of the Film”” Featurette
This runs 18 minutes and it’s your standard “behind-the-scenes/making-of” featurette. Various members of the cast and crew pump up the movie and tell you how much fun it was to shoot, and how great it is. Nothing real insightful given here.

“Club Sexy” Featurette
This runs 10 minutes and it’s all about sex clubs and similar “Lists” in real life like the one featured in the film. Very interesting stuff, but too short to get the whole story on sex clubs. Still probably the only extra that is worth watching.

“Added Deception: Deleted Scenes / Alternate Ending”
There are 2 deleted scenes and an alternate ending that total 5 minutes. None of this worth watching, though, as they neither help nor hurt the film.

Deception is average at best. There was potential to be more, but it just didn’t work out. I can only recommend a rental here and it’s borderline on only those who love the actors involved in this film. Therefore, it’s really not worth debating which version of the DVD you get. But since there is only an option to view the film and have “behind-the-scenes” information pop up onto the screen that is exclusive to the Blu-ray version, I say the regular DVD of this film will do if you MUST buy this.


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment presents Deceptionk. Directed by Marcel Langenegger. Written by Mark Bomback. Starring Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Michelle Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, and Maggie Q. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: September 23, 2008.
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