Deception is a 2008 thriller film starring Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, and Michelle Williams. It is written by Mark Bomback and directed by Marcel Langenegger.
Plot. In separate chance encounters, accountant Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor) meets Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman) in a boardroom and a mysterious blond woman (Michelle Williams) in a subway. The next day, Jonathan contacts Wyatt and they play tennis after work. While having lunch, Wyatt switches their phone and only later that Jonathan realizes it. Jonathan tries to reach Wyatt but he is unsuccessful. Soon, a woman contacts him through Wyatt’s phone and arranges a meeting in a hotel that night. Jonathan agrees and the following day, he presumes that Wyatt must be on some kind of an exclusive sex club.
Wyatt calls Jonathan and encourages him to continue his participation with other list members. The club is secret, encounters are random, and there must be no exchange of names or conversation between partners. In the weeks that follow, Jonathan participates with several partners. Incidentally, one of the women he encounters is the blond woman he earlier meets in the subway. Based on her pendant, Jonathan names her “S”.
Later, Jonathan stumbles on “S” again but when they are already on the hotel, an event shakes Jonathan’s world. He is about to return to his room from getting an ice when he discovers that “S” is gone and that there is blood on the bedsheets. He goes home and found Wyatt waiting for him. For him to see “S” again, who is held captive, Wyatt must steal $20 million from an investment firm he will audit in a few days.
In the succeeding days, Jonathan discovers revelations about the secret club. More painfully, he founds out that “S” is also a conspirator in blackmailing him. However, Wyatt completes the wire transfer to a bank but secretly adds Wyatt’s name as co-signer. Now in Madrid, Jonathan agrees to help Wyatt withdraw the fund if he splits it with him. They are able to pull out the money, and after which, Jonathan offers his money if Wyatt tells him where “S” is. Wyatt agrees and brings Jonathan to a secluded place. He is about to draw his gun and shot Jonathan when “S” appears and shots him instead. Jonathan rushes over to “S” and begs him to talk with her. She calls it off and apologizes to him for she is unaware of Wyatt’s plan. She then takes a cab and leaves Jonathan.
In the final scene, Jonathan makes another chance encounter with “S” in Madrid, and both exchange smiles.
Commentary. Deception is an engaging drama thriller. It is fast-paced and exciting. As the title suggests, the film has many twists and surprises. It keeps viewers guessing and wondering. One of the deceptions is that Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor must switch faces and roles. It was the fun part since both very well copied each other.
However, the movie is overserious, uncharismatic, and predictable. Though it is drama, it entirely lacks humor which makes it less exciting. So much also have happened that the ending seems not worth it. I feel the movie is too long and unsatisfying.
Reception. The movie was met with negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 13% of critics gave a positive review. In Metacritic, the movie received an average score of 32 out of 100. It did fairly well in the box office, ranking #10 on its opening weekend.
Rating. Jackman and McGregor are really great in the movie. However, even their brilliance cannot make the movie more entertaining and indulging. It is really the movie’s fault. Well, I can give the movie only two stars out of five.