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:: Deception

Marcel Langenegger’s latest film Deception is aptly titled, exploring how things in this hectic modern world are never as they seem. Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor) is an audit accountant who admits to watching life pass by through the glass of an office. He meets Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman) who is the perfect foil to Jonathan and sets up one of many tensions in the film- the nerdy guy meeting the cool kid. Despite their apparent differences, Wyatt’s charming nature wins Jonathan over and the two quickly form a friendship. Jonathan’s admiration of Wyatt’s affluent, sex-driven lifestyle prompts Wyatt to leave him with “The List”- a collection of phone numbers for members of an exclusive sex club. Before long, nothing is what it seems and Jonathan finds himself the prime suspect in a murder, the key to a woman’s (Michelle Williams) disappearance and an accomplice to a multi-million dollar heist.

Admittedly, the plot of this movie is fairly formulaic and it contains many clichéd moments. There is the tried and tested scene where two characters who barely know each other, share a joint and quickly divulge their inner most feelings, before doubling over in hysterics and forming a (seemingly) life long bond. There is the age-old contrast of the awkward, bashful Jonathan against the grinning, popular charmer Wyatt. There is the moment where Jonathan and his nameless lover share their first kiss, after a sentimental speech and on the street in the pouring rain. There is the sticky situation where our protagonist is knocked unconscious, only to awake confused, suspected of murder and unable to prove a theory he believes to be true, but that everyone else deems insane. And finally, there is the multi-million dollar heist, completed successfully with only a few clicks on a computer and a few forged signatures.

However, what makes these formulas not only bearable but gripping to watch is the strength of the cast. Hugh Jackman shines in his role, every inch the loveable Wyatt yet subtly revealing glimpses of the evil that lies beneath. It is a pleasure to see him play the “bad guy” for a change. Michelle Williams surprises in this role - she nails the sultry, emotionally torn vixen - an especially brave performance considering the media attention on her private life recently. Ewan McGregor shows yet again how versatile an actor he is. Thankfully, he avoids adopting a heroic quality to his character and this balances out what could have been an otherwise unbearably stylised plot.

Although one can guess most of the twists in the film well before they are revealed, the film’s industrial rock soundtrack, frantic editing, use of silence, mis-en-scene and scenery, all combine to maintain suspense through to the final scenes.

If you are after a simple yet quality action/thriller, Deception does not fail to deliver. For Australia’s Hugh Jackman, this is not only another successful acting notch on the belt, but his first feature film for his production company Seed. Let’s hope the next project will be filmed on our shores!