Blu-ray Disc Review
Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW
Starring: Hugh Jackman (Wyatt Bose), Ewan McGregor (Jonathan McQuarry), Michelle Williams (S), Lisa Gay Hamilton (Detective Russo), Maggie Q (Tina), Natasha Henstridge (Simone Wilkinson), Charlotte Rampling (Wall Street Belle)
Written by: Mark Bomback
Directed by: Marcel Langenegger
When you're in this world, no one is who they seem, and everyone is playing the game.
Ewan McGregor is Jonathan McQuarry, a naïve accountant who spends too much of his time alone; he is without friends and a love life. He has seemingly fallen into the trap that many young adults have given in to – job absorption and has left no time for anything else – by choice. He looks on at others who seem to find a bit of romance when they can find it and without words, we know that Jonathan is feeling left out of an important connection in life. Up in the high rise of the lonely office he works in late at night, lights dimmed, and staring off into the city lights with a laptop in front of him, the film tells us he is alone.
Jonathan becomes acquainted with a lawyer named Wyatt. He is much more confident than Jonathan’s timid image. Wyatt is tall, handsome, and does not let the world walk on him - a ‘chick magnet’ in a sense, because he can be. He shows Jonathan how he lives his life and how strikingly different it is. High class. Cool and casual. Beautiful women. Jonathan is enticed by this, although as modest as he is about diving into these pleasures, his opportunity knocks when Wyatt’s cell phone gets mixed with his and Jonathan gets phone calls from ‘The List’. “Are you free tonight?” is the question asked of those on this list, a private sex club where the lives of fast-moving business class men and women connect with one another for no-strings-attached sex. Their age range and reasons vary, but most appear to be the middle-aged successful and wealthy whose lives move too fast to have a steady relationship or to keep consistency in their current one. The sex club is a telephone list – not a place where people meet – but one is registered and makes the arrangement to meet somewhere for a short fling.
Jonathan tries this list and is torn between what he feels he needs and is proper “good boy” personality. He is, in fact, a bit awkward in this, as he does not have the social and wooing skills of a confidant pursuer. This is not Jonathan’s game. Further, Jonathan feels that he has fallen in love with one of the younger women he meets. It’s against the rules of course, and Jonathan seems bent on breaking them. He seems more desperate rather than in love, and his naïveté is that of a young boy in puppy love blinding him of the barb behind the bone. Jonathan becomes a bit too obsessed and illogical in his actions, either showing a severe flaw in character or scriptwriting, as his perusal for this girl amongst the kidnapping and murder that results as a result of his involvement with The List.
Fox released this title a little over a month ago, but I liked the film/Blu-ray enough to spend a little time visiting the release for HTF. Despite mediocre reviews, I enjoyed watching Deception. I felt that director Marcel Langenegger succeeded, in a sort of artsy way, showing a film of a subject that is foreign to most people as it is shown. While people have affairs, there are many men who don’t have the look or the talent to pursue high-class women who are interested in a fling, never mind being a part of an exclusive list. Jonathan is that man. Lists such as this do exist and there are websites that also cater to this crowd of affairs such as the Ashely Madison Agency. This is the dream for some men…to release their sexual prowl…but I fear most men who dream of being a part of these things are the creepy ones who stay up late on their computers at night and have no social and formal elegance in a real world scenario. Hardly a Wyatt Bose. But the cool ones, both men and women who play it right live the life while for the rest dream of it (such as writer Mark Bomback) …and it will only stay a dream.
VIDEO QUALITY: 5/5
Viewers of this movie will not be disappointed. While I could use a variety of adjectives to describe various aspects of this 2.35:1 image, I’m just going to say the picture is hard to flaw. It will please many people who are expecting the “HD experience” and all of the expectations that come from it. Deception was shot with HD cameras as well as with 35mm and the result exhibits the image characteristics of both capturing devices. While engaged in the film, one may not notice the switch.
I have no complaints with this disc. No visible compression artefacts, no haloing. I will assume all that is seen is the director’s intent; it’s a new film and given the involvement the director had participating in the special features, I’m sure all went well for the rest of the process. Like nearly all films these days there can be a slight artistic approach to the way the picture is presented to us, but I will not assume that there is a problem with the image.
AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5
What first struck me was how low the noise floor seemed to be on this soundtrack. The DTS-HDMA encoding must be a 24/48 5.1 master. The soundtrack is dead quiet and it’s highly effective for the ambient music this film has. I like trance, and while far from a trance soundtrack, there is a crossover of sound elements between the genres. At brief moments, it actually sounds like a cross of east-Indian music and trance/house. Very cool. The rest of the mix is mediocre for excitement. Dialogue is good and clear. Effects are spread across the front channels in a subtle manner and occasionally use the surrounds for sound stage depth. The music is really what wraps around the listener whether just recorded in the front channels or using the surrounds as well. Too bad there wasn’t an isolated music score. I guess I need to hunt down the official soundtrack!
TACTILE FUN!!: 1/5
TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
Hardly worthwhile. Most of the bass is in the main channels. Very little LFE action and this is not a movie for shaking it up (unless you somehow find yourself in bed with one off the list).
SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5
The disc includes and audio commentary by director Marcel Langenegger. He’s fairly descriptive in his narrative regarding working with the script, making edits, and his artistic theme to the film. As we move on, all features are in HD and we start with a quick “making of” titled Exposing Deception. This 10-minute piece delves into the ideas that Langenegger brings forward in his commentary, although the feature is too short to give any new details worth noting.
What’s a bit more interesting is the Club Sexy featurette, which talks about real-life sex clubs. Although, like the featurette before, it’s too short and the information isn’t in depth enough. Sigh.
Deleted scenes and an alternate ending (director preferred) are included with or without commentary. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the alternate ending. It’s too juvenile for me. In fact, even the theatrical ending didn’t sit well with me even though I found it much more satisfying.
Fox does offer a Blu-ray exclusive: Bonus View Picture-in-Picture. Featurettes pop up on the screen to give an analysis on a particular topic. Those without bonus view players can access these by selecting phone numbers on the menu screen. These featurettes are much better than the other two, in my opinion.
IN THE END...
I’m having a difficult time putting together a conclusion for this review. I can’t quite find the right sentences to explain what I think of this movie. Using a few words to describe McGregor’s character what he puts himself through seems to be the best solution. The film gives me a feeling of loneliness. Darkness. Helplessness. Betrayal. Deception.
November 08, 2008.