Week 18: Deception

Title: Deception
MPAA#: 43789
Showtime: 9:25
Ticket price: 10.99
Seat: rear right
Shotgun: none
Attendance: 10
Weather: warm
Food: Dr. Pepper and Reese Bites
Expectations: moderate
Met?: exceeded
Pre-show ads: the new month of Empire in-house promos is more annoying than the last. On the bright side, Shawn Majumder is the guest on The Hour promo. Actual ads were the usual from Toyota, Coke, and Telus. By the way, Coke? I am sick of your ad for “The Happiness Factory.”
Sex and the City – I feel sorry for single women everywhere if Carrie is supposed to be “the ultimate single girl” – apparently that means horse-faced, fortyish and high maintenance.
Defiance – Daniel Craig goes commando in the woods.
The Happening – tough call. M. Night Shyamalan has made good movies, and incredibly bad movies. Mark Wahlberg has done the same. Zooey Deschanel gives me hope for this one.
What Happens in Vegas – see previous reviews.

Deception is a stylish and mature film noir from a new director and Hugh Jackman’s production company. Ewan McGregor stars as Jonathan McQuarry, a mild-mannered auditor who feels disconnected from life; he moves from company to company, spending a week or two at a time. Enter gregarious lawyer Wyatt (Jackman), who takes Jonathan clubbing, plays tennis with him, and generally dangles the promise of a more exciting life. Meanwhile, Jonathan happens to run into a mysterious and vulnerable blonde woman known only as “S” (Michelle Williams). When Johnathan and Wyatt accidentally take each other’s cell phones after a lunch meeting, the three lives intersect in the dark tale of an anonymous sex club, an apparent kidnapping, and blackmail.

I really enjoyed this movie- more than I would have expected from the trailer, which made it seem as if it was a Phildickian story, like The Game or Stay. It’s actually more like one of McEwan’s first films, Shallow Grave, where three characters play a chess game with a fortune and possibly their lives at stake. We have a pretty good idea of what will happen, but it doesn’t matter, because the script, the performances, the music, editing, and art direction take the conventional story to a higher level. The first act of the film, where Jonathan is drawn into the sex club (kind of like a straight version of Fight Club), is especially strong, and feels like Eyes Wide Shut if it were directed by Wong Kar Wai.

It is a rare pleasure to see a film that assumes its audience has a brain and can follow a story. The characters are adults, doing adult things, and the stakes are high. The script is not perfect- it commits the minor sin of trying to wring excitement out of an online transaction (did Jackman think he could surpass Swordfish?) But it is very strong, and that strength made me willing to forgive the extra turns in the last act. Setting the last act in Spain probably helped too.

To sum up, Deception was a pleasant surprise and one of the best films I have seen so far this year in Cinema 3. Check it out for yourself if you get a chance.

Crowd reaction at end of movie: none
Weird credit(s): Eugene O’Neill, Transportation Captain
Credit cookie?: none
For further consideration: who would win, Wolverine or Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Opening next week: Speed Racer, What Happens in Vegas, Frontieres
Hoping for/ Please god, anything but: What Happens in Vegas

As a final note to my fellow film fans, consider checking out the FilmPix movie this Tuesday, May 6th at 7 PM: In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell as a hit man cooling his heels in the titular Belgian city while Ralph Fiennes hunts him down. Shot on location and it looks hilarious.

About Scott M

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2 Responses to Week 18: Deception

  1. Jay says:

    Wow. Sounds like a much better film than I was anticipating.
    Obi-Wan would also totally kick Wolverine’s ass.

  2. Lisa says:

    Daniel Craig minus undies? I’m there!

    I didn’t have high hopes for this one based on the trailer – I may have to check it out. 🙂

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