Deception (2008)

Genre(s): Drama / Thriller
Fox || R - 108 minutes - $27.98 || September 23, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-09-19

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Marcel Langenegger
Writer(s): Mark Bomback (written by)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Michelle Williams

Theatrical Release Date: April 25, 2008

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Exposing Deception: The Making of the Film
  • Club Sexy
  • Added Deception: Deleted Scenes

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Surround 2.0), French (Dolby Surround 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.


“Everything you told me was a lie.”
“Oh, not lies John. That was foreplay. And now you’re fucked.”

The back cover describes this as an erotic thriller and while indeed there are several sex scenes, and each were tastefully filmed, I was fairly disappointed on both accounts as eroticism and as a thriller. The movie makes complete sense, but it was also too transparent from beginning to end.

Deception stars Hugh Jackman as Wyatt Bose as a charismatic corporate lawyer who befriends shy accountant Jonathan McQuarry played by Ewan McGregor. The two quickly form a friendship and when their cell phones get mixed up; Jonathan’s world is turned upside down after getting involved with a sex club known only as ‘The List’. How it goes is, you receive a phone call asking “Are you free tonight?”, if you say yes, a place and time is set up where the two can have consensual sex where no names are allowed and, especially, no baggage afterward.

Several women later, Jonathan gets used to this lifestyle, until he meets a woman he (and in turn, the audience) knows only as “S” (Williams), and that’s when things go topsy-turvy for our good natured accountant.

I don’t take issue with the fact there’s little eroticism in this film but instead that as a viewer, I was five steps ahead of every step of the way and I have to assume that I wasn’t the only one. Yet even with an obvious story that unfolds as expected, the movie doesn’t have much else to lean on, which is strange since all three leads are certainly capable of better things and have proven so in the past.

Deception is a clunky thriller that doesn’t have anything memorable going for it. A talented cast that seems to sleepwalk through their performances, a screenplay by Mark Bomback -- who wrote Godsend starring Robert De Niro and the summer blockbuster, Live Free or Die Hard – weaves a predictable tale with a cliché ending, and boring direction from Marcel Langenegger in his feature debut.

Not a terrible movie by any stretch, it is more something that should’ve gone straight to DVD rather than in theaters. The film also holds some entertainment value so even through the clunky nature of the screenplay, Deception does make for a good rental. It’s not going to make you think and I dare say, you probably won’t remember anything 20-minutes later.

For those who plan on renting/buying this, look out for Natasha Henstridge (Species), Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible 3) and Rachael Taylor (Transformers) as some of the “List” women McQuarry has liaisons with.


The DVD contains a commentary by director Marcel Langenegger, a track that is fairly mundane and, well, a tad boring. He does utilize a good amount of time, providing info about the making of the film and story elements, but as with most solo commentaries, you can skip it.

Exposing Deception: The Making of the Film (18:10) is at times a regular ‘making-of’, but it does manage to reveal the origins of the project and how Hugh Jackman’s involvement sped up the process.

Club Sexy (10:05) features interviews with a couple of sex therapists and some sound bites from the cast/crew as they talk about sex clubs, and sex in general and the attraction between men and women.

Finally, there are a 3 deleted scenes (5:05) including an alternate ending which is different from the theatrical version, for a change. An optional commentary is also available.



Fox presents the film with a 2.4 OAR and other than some moment’s grain, it wasn’t a bad looking movie, but still not something you’re going to admire either. I took a closer look here on my computer and the graininess isn’t as noticeable, but it’s still there. I guess I can attribute this to the use of digital photography rather than film, but even on the small screen it didn’t look too great and was inconsistent with other parts.

The audio, on the other hand, was halfway decent. The DVD has a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track and dialog was perfectly crisp and clear while the score by Ramin Djawadi (Iron Man) was pulse pounding even when the story failed to do so.


Deception is certainly a deceptive film alright. As far as erotic thrillers go, it isn’t just one porn-like scene after another and somewhere inside is a good story, but from start to finish I knew exactly what was going on, who was what and what was where (got all that?). I doubt this is going to bottom out on anyone’s list, yet at the same time I consider some of the more mundane flicks to be worse than the worst films of all-time because you have the potential with a movie starring Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor and instead you have material suitable for direct-to-DVD.