Ewan McGregor does the quietly spoken loser thing brilliantly. Jonathan McQuarry isn’t the kind of guy you take notice of. If he’s running late for the train, he won’t force himself through the closing doors, he’ll simply step back and accept it as the train moves off. Hugh Jackman is equally effective as the suave lawyer Wyatt Bose, who befriends the lonely auditor. Though it’s clear to us that such a pairing wouldn’t happen naturally, the performances are good enough that we don’t care. Through a string of ‘unconnected’ events, Jonathan finds himself introduced to an exclusive sex club known as the List – no names, no talking shop, all high-powered business people.Deception One meeting leads to S (Michelle Williams), a woman so entrancing that Jonathan will be tempted to break the rules.

It’s an interesting beginning. The film is immaculately constructed – the editing, cinematography and score blend seamlessly together. The story isn’t original or particularly confronting, but it’s a solid concept with strong performances.

Unfortunately things get worse after this point. Deception manages to tick off every cliché in the thriller playbook one by one. It’s astounding – every ‘twist’ is in fact the most mundane, oft-written narrative backflip you can imagine. I may be a thriller aficionado, but regular readers will know I’m fairly easy to please within the genre, and I’m certain that no one would be surprised by this film.

The only other notable aspect of Deception is that it feels like one of those late 80s/early 90s sexual thrillers that were big for a while (think Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction or Consenting Adults). Initially I found myself wondering if it would herald a resurgence in the sub-genre’s popularity, but was soon too frustrated too care any more.

If you thought that 2006’s Derailed was predictable, then you’ll be disgusted by the lazy writing on show here. The only other interesting elements are the near-cameos by Charlotte Rampling and Maggie Q. If you like looking at McGregor, Jackman or Williams then it may be worth your while. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Rating: 2.0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 29th April 2008
Hoopla Factor: 2.0 stars

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