The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 108 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English & Spanish
Starring: High Jackman, Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor
Directed by: Marcel Langenegger
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Written by: Mark Bomback
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 23, 2008
"Are you free tonight?"
Leave your inhibitions at the door as Hugh Jackman (X-Men Trilogy) and Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) lure Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge) into a tangled web of lust and lies in this scorching erotic thriller. Lonely, timid accountant Jonathan McQuarry (McGregor) lives only for his work – until a chance meeting with suave, charismatic corporate lawyer Wyatt Bose (Jackman) introduces him to “The List.” Suddenly, the right cell-phone number and the words, “Are You Free Tonight,” launch Jonathan on a decadent journey of sexual conquests and self-discovery amidst New York’s power elite. But an affair with a ravishing and mysterious stranger (Williams) will expose him to another world he never imagined: one of betrayal, treachery and murder!
Ewan McGregor plays Jonathan McQuarry a lonely nerd who works for the largest accounting firm in the country. While he is doing an audit on a NY law firm he is approached by one of the firm’s lawyers Wyatt Bose (Jackman) while working late one night. Wyatt is the suave, handsome type who quickly sizes Jonathan up and gets him to relax by smoking a joint with him right there in the conference room. The two men instantly hit it off and Wyatt shows him a bit of the night life and the fringe benefits of being a “player”. Jonathan admits to Wyatt that he has not slept with very many women and doesn’t have a lot of friends. One day while having lunch together Wyatt tells Jonathan that he is going to London on business and will be gone for a couple of weeks. After that there is a cell phone ringing which causes both men to reach for their phones. It turns out to be Wyatt’s phone which just happens to be identical to Jonathan’s. Both men set their phones down on the table and when they depart they take each other’s phones. Jonathan realizes it later but can’t reach Wyatt. Shortly after that Wyatt’s phone rings and Jonathan answers it. The female voice on the other end says nothing other than “Are you free tonight”? Jonathan advises that they have not reached Wyatt and the call is terminated. This happens again however this time Jonathan’s curiosity gets the better of him and he accepts the invitation from the voice on the phone and goes to the specified location which is a ritzy hotel in the city. There he ends up meeting up with a tall, blonde, woman who wants to have sex with him. She tells him that there is to be no conversation and no names exchanged, just sex. At first he tries to explain the cell phone mix up but after she disrobes (how could he resist Natasha Henstridge!) he becomes a willing participant in a night of passion.
This leads to Jonathan answering the phone when it rings and his acceptance of numerous engagements that lead to similar brief encounters. One of his partners is an attractive and sophisticated older woman (Charlotte Rampling) who can clearly see that he is inexperienced and takes the time to explain to the rules to him. She tells him about the “list” and explains that it is an organized group that meets through telephonic contact to have “meaningless” sex which can only happen one time. She tells him that names and personal information is never shared and that the list is exclusive and a secret. Jonathan’s next meeting is with a young woman (Williams) who leads him down the rabbit hole. He is faced with a situation that reveals that everyone and everything is what they appear which could result in dire consequences.
I enjoyed the first two thirds of Deception but the last act just became too large a pill to swallow. This is one of those situations where there are too many convenient coincidences. The bad guy is always three steps ahead until the end where all of a sudden he can’t see what is about to happen even thought it’s plainly obvious. The ending was silly and far from satisfying. This film had a good premise but it didn’t follow through with smart, believable characters, good writing and a solid finale.
The rating is for Sexual content, language, brief violence and some drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Deception comes to Blu-ray disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.
This was an impressive video presentation that was near reference quality. The color palette was deliberately held to the primary use of black, grays, whites, and greens. There were splashes of other colors but all were held in check to give the video a flatter color perspective. Colors were rendered cleanly with realistic looking depth and detail. This is a high bitrate encoding that delivered superlative image resolution. Close ups revealed high level detail that allowed the pores, stubble, peach fuzzy hair and subtle skin variation among the cast to be perceivable. The texture on the surfaces of objects was just as resolute which gave them visibly apparent structure and lifelike quality. Black levels and contrast were excellent and visible detail within dark backgrounds and shadows was just as good. The video had a pristine quality that appeared to be devoid of video related anomalies and artifacts. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack delivered strong dialogue, along with good dynamic presence and separation across the front three channels. The front and rear channels blended well to create a musically cohesive soundscape as the film’s music score supplied the bulk of the surround activity. This included some notably low, synthesized bass notes that occasionally filled the room with palpably deep low frequency energy.
- Director commentary with Marcel Langenegger
- (HD) A passionate process: Dissecting Deception feature – Bonus view or Direct view options
- (HD) Exposing Deception: Making of the film
- (HD) Club sexy – A short feature on Sex Clubs and similar “Lists” like that featured in the story
- (HD) Added Deception: Deleted Scenes – 2 scenes and an alternate ending
- (HD) Two Fox Blu-ray Trailers
Deception is an average thriller that had good potential but fizzled out when it should have exploded. I like both Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor but their characters were shallow and transparent in this film. The film centered around them which made it a tough sell in my opinion. On a positive note Fox had provided Deception with splendid high definition video and audio quality that help make it more palatable. I would suggest a rental prior to purchasing this one.
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