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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment




Deception [Blu-ray]


(Marcel Langenegger, 2008)






Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Cheyenne & Seed Productions

Blu-ray: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment



Region: A

Runtime: 108 min

Chapters: 20

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case

Release date: September 23, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC @ 34 MBPS



English DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio; Spanish & French DD 5.1



English & Spanish



• Feature Commentary by Director Marcel Langenegger

• Featurette: Exposing Deception: The Making of the Film

• Added Deception: Deleted Scenes & Alternate Ending with Optional Director's Commentary



The Film: 5
The double-cross is the staple of the crime novel, and reached its cinematic apogee in the noir films of the late 1940s. The gold standard modern noir film of this type - where the plot is tighter, the sex and violence more graphic, the warnings louder and the ironies more exquisite, is Body Heat. As slimy is Ned Racine, it is he we are to identify with – and when Ned is left holding the bag, like him, we go over and over in our minds how we got taken. We watch the movie over and over, as he does he in his cell, searching for the tell.

The problem with Deception is that its audience has become too smart for anything that doesn't remotely approach Body Heat in complexity and clockwork neatness. To director Langenegger and writer Bomback, I say: Next time, study how Kasdan did it and follow the directions. Of course, it doesn't help to dare us to figure out what's about to happen to poor Ewan McGregor by such a title, but the plot struck me as just a little too transparent regardless. I discovered the final tell at the same moment as Ewan, and though I drew a different, and, I thought, equally plausible conclusion from it, my next move would have been the same. . . which leads us to the ending, where most everything set up in the plot, simply falls apart before our very eyes.



What Deception has going for it is its lead actors, particularly the exceedingly charming serialist, embodied by Hugh Jackman. I really wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of any plans he might have for me, yet I could as easily feel what draws his female victims to him again and again. McGregor is good as the vulnerable accountant who never sees the bullet coming until it's already sailed by. And Michelle Williams - remember her from Brokeback Mountain? She's grown some as an actress since Dawson's Creek – is given the thankless task of turning the plausible into the implausible. It isn't her fault that it doesn't work.


Image: 8/8.5
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

The sharp, somewhat desaturated, though varied color palette of Deception are appealing, certainly more interesting than the script. There are no faults worth reporting except a kind of artifactual dust that overlays the image. Bit rates tend to the low 30s.















Audio & Music: 7/8
The textured, but flat, audio mix helps generate a certain degree of suspense, aided by a properly moody score.




Operations: 7
The menu layout for Deception is, considering the title, surprisingly uncomplicated, which I found something of a relief. The chapter thumbnails do not expand, neither are they titled, and the special features are not timed.


Extras: 5
One of the extra features offers an alternate ending which Langenegger, in his commentary, remarks how unfortunate it is that it wasn't the ending used. It certainly is different, but I thought it didn't work either. The director's commentary is routine, covering matters of production and character.



Bottom line: 5
Deception looks and sounds pretty good on this Blu-ray edition, but the plot is unconvincing, and the ending (either of them) deflates what energy the film had going for it. If you get around to seeing the movie, ask yourself how Jackman had planned to pull off the bit in the hotel room if McGregor had gone volunteered to go out for ice.

Leonard Norwitz
September 20, 2008







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