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Deception (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=117255&d=1219173119
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

85






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 108 Minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


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?"



Film Synopsis:

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!




My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=120358&d=1222111877

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.





Parental Guide:

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)

Audio: 82



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699
attachment.php?attachmentid=120359&d=1222111877

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.




Bonus Features:



  • 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
attachment.php?attachmentid=120360&d=1222111877



Final Thoughts:



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.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 16
Good review. The video quality was very good, but the narrow color pallet got a little old after a while. The two main actors could have added a lot more emotional depth, but like you said, it didn't happen.

I thought it was enjoyable, but not thrilling. The idea of these "clubs" is somewhat of a novel idea to a movie and added some excitement and interest.

Dan
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Greetings,

Thanks for sharing your impressions Dan..


Cheers,
post #4 of 16
I rented this the day it came out. Agree with the review - good audio and video, average story and acting.

Seemed like the film makers really didn't know what to to with the end of the movie and it shows.

This is one of those films that is good for a night's entertainment but has minimal rewatch potential.

While the video is good, the colors used for the film make it appear sharp and detailed, but drab. So even if it is near reference, it is not overly impressive.
post #5 of 16
I thought the video was just ok. I didn't like the visual style of it. Much of the movie was dark and I just thought it lacked pop at times. Although, there was some very good scenes. Take that one scene when he was walking in the street at night. The end of the film I thought was very good in the outside day scenes.
post #6 of 16
Finally got around to watching this last night and I very much agree with your point "good potential but fizzled out when it should have exploded". I'm a major Ewan McGregor fan and thought he was fantastic as usual but his character and abilitites were not done near their potential.
post #7 of 16
I thought the cinematography and lighting were really well done. This movie has a look that I really like.

While I was watching it I could see that some of the shots were quite devoid of grain but didn't appear scrubbed in the way many do these days. A few shots had quite discernible grain. It wasn't until I watched the extras that I found this film had been shot partially digitally and partially on film. Up until now I had been of the opinion that stuff shot digitally just didn't cut it for dramatic subject matter. Great for live music, sports and nature but to harsh for dramatic films. This title has changed my opinion.

The story is a little weak but not say IJ: Chrystal Skull weak. The alternate ending is better than the theatrical ending in my opinion as well as the directors which leaves you to wonder who the paper pusher was that decided to give us this ending. To bad they didn't use seamless branching to give us a choice of endings.

I watched it as a rental but will buy it if I find it at a reasonable price.
post #8 of 16
Thanks to Ralph for his review of Deception. I mostly agree with him about the technical aspects of the film. The video was nearly reference quality, indeed. I did, however, like the audio more than he, I would have given it a score of about 90.

I rented this BD from BB without knowing anything about the movie. For that reason, I checked it out on IMDB, and read both threads about it, this one and the one on the Blu-ray Software Forum. As a consequence, I was pleasantly surprised by how satisfying I found the plot. It was, of course, preposterous, and wildly romantic but by the standards of paranoid thrillers, I liked the story. I figured out the Big Twist in advance, though, because of having picked up on something that happened earlier, which hinted at what was to come. In order to avoid spoilers here, though, I'll say no more about it.

I really like Michelle Williams. She is a competent young actress and exudes sexuality from every pore. Her role was written in a way that limited what she could do with it but I can't see how any other actress could have done more with it. Jackman and McGregor were both excellent, too, but, once again the way their roles were written severely limited what they could do with them.

The only reason I don't give this movie an unqualified recommendation is that I read many thrillers, most of which are mediocre or worse. By that admittedly low standard, Deception is really pretty good. I understand, though, that most viewers probably want more from a big name, big budget Hollywood thriller, so the disappointment expressed by many viewers didn't surprise me. Still, the story is exciting and there were no slow moments.
post #9 of 16
Thought the storyline and plot on this movie was great! Very deceptive and cleverly played.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

Thought the storyline and plot on this movie was great! Very deceptive and cleverly played.

As I have already indicated I agree. One of things that initially scared me was the Rotten Tomatoes collection of reviews about the movie, here, which gave it a positive rating of only 12 percent. Yikes! Obviously, I think the critics could not possibly have been more wrong.
post #11 of 16
Have to agree with your take on Deception, Ralph. Although mostly predictable, it had potential to be better but like many other films, they get 2/3 right and the other 1/3 goes down in flames.

The ending was really lame and I was disappointed that Jackman and McGregor's characters were pretty weak. Michelle Williams is cute and sexy but also did nothing to stand out in this film.

Maybe it was worth the space in my BB queue, then again, maybe not!

Mike T
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike-tee View Post

Have to agree with your take on Deception, Ralph. Although mostly predictable, it had potential to be better but like many other films, they get 2/3 right and the other 1/3 goes down in flames.

The ending was really lame and I was disappointed that Jackman and McGregor's characters were pretty weak. Michelle Williams is cute and sexy but also did nothing to stand out in this film.

Maybe it was worth the space in my BB queue, then again, maybe not!

Mike T

Bite your tongue, Ewan McGregor is never weak Looking forward to Incendiary this week
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

Bite your tongue, Ewan McGregor is never weak Looking forward to Incendiary this week

I was going to say that apparently you haven't seen Star Wars. But, looking at your screen-name, I'm sure you have. Hey, I love the Star Wars franchise as much as anyone. Even so, McGregor himself has commented on the hokiness of the role.

I like both the leads enough to watch just about anything either is in. I'll have to check this one out someday, but for some reason, after seeing the trailer, I'm not at all excited about it.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Varnadore View Post

I was going to say that apparently you haven't seen Star Wars. But, looking at your screen-name, I'm sure you have. Hey, I love the Star Wars franchise as much as anyone. Even so, McGregor himself has commented on the hokiness of the role.

I like both the leads enough to watch just about anything either is in. I'll have to check this one out someday, but for some reason, after seeing the trailer, I'm not at all excited about it.

Greetings,

Chad, I felt very much the same before I saw this film. Afterward, not so much..

Cheers,
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

Bite your tongue, Ewan McGregor is never weak Looking forward to Incendiary this week

This may not be a popular opinion, but I totally agree with you [IMG]http://www.entertainment-place.info/smile/img/2659/*************************[/IMG].
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

Bite your tongue, Ewan McGregor is never weak Looking forward to Incendiary this week

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Varnadore View Post

I was going to say that apparently you haven't seen Star Wars. But, looking at your screen-name, I'm sure you have. Hey, I love the Star Wars franchise as much as anyone. Even so, McGregor himself has commented on the hokiness of the role.

I like both the leads enough to watch just about anything either is in. I'll have to check this one out someday, but for some reason, after seeing the trailer, I'm not at all excited about it.

Despite being short, slight, and pale, McGregor has had remarkable success as a leading man. He is a strong actor and for reasons I can't identify is also charismatic. I agree, though, that his Star Wars gig was probably his least effective starring role.

McGregor did a good job in Deception, no mean feat given the inherent silliness of the movie's premise. Although I also like Hugh Jackman, I liked McGregor better in this film, which I suppose is a testament to his ability to breathe life into an essentially silly role.
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