What You Need To Know:
The movie itself, apart from the licentious plot points, is a well-made thriller with shocks, twists of plot and a true surprise ending. The writing is top notch, and the direction is subtle. The performances by McGregor and Jackman are exceptional. However, those production elements don’t offset the fact that the plot revolves on the use of the “sex club.” The filmmakers choose to show viewers those sexual encounters in graphic detail. That, along with the movie’s explicit nudity and depiction of marijuana use, warrants an excessive rating for DECEPTION.
(HH, PaPa, LL, NN, VV, SSS, A, DD, MMM) Strong humanist worldview mixed with strong hedonistic pagan elements; 14 obscenities and four profanities; man is graphically shot, two blows to head; constant depicted sexual acts with multiple unmarried partners, plus erotic dancers; upper male and female nudity, man and woman in underwear; limited drinking of alcohol; smoking cigarettes and marijuana; and, lying, extortion, stealing, fraud, and involvement in an anonymous “sex club.”
DECEPTION is an old school thriller that centers on a lonely accountant Jonathan (played by Ewan McGregor) who is tricked into joining a “sex club” only to he used as part of a plan to extort corporate funds. The movie is Hitchcockian in that it features an innocent man slowly pulled into the darker side of life.
Shy Jonathan is an auditor whose work is all that he has. He has no friends and no family. He’s befriended by Wyatt (played by Hugh Jackman), who “accidentally” introduces him into a “sex club” where one phone call finds him a sex partner for the night. The members of the club are NY power elite who are workaholics and are looking for “intimacy without intricacies.”
Jonathan meets a woman named “S” (played by Michelle Williams) and falls in love with her. He discovers, almost too late, that he has been “played” as part of a scheme to extort millions from a client.
The movie itself, apart from the licentious plot points, is well made and is a thriller with shocks, twists of plot and a true surprise ending. Paced just right to draw the viewer into the lonely world of Jonathan and to delight when he makes a friend, though the friend turns out to be the enemy. The performances by McGregor and Jackman are exceptional. Jackman is a charming and believable con artist and an equally believable thug. McGregor often is a leading man type, but gives a great performance as a nerdy, shy accountant. The score is riveting and the writing top notch. There is much to recommend in that regard.
However, those terrific production elements don’t offset that the con game revolves on the use of the “sex club” of anonymous sex partners. The filmmakers choose to show us those encounters in detail. There’s both upper male and female nudity and characters are often seen in their underwear and in many scenes of sex. The violence is less explicit; a character is hit twice and a character is graphically shot at close range with much blood. There’s also some foul language and few blasphemies along with alcohol, smoking cigarettes and marijuana use.
The movie is devoid of God. Thus, one wishes that lonely Jonathan could find hope and meaning in life apart from work or sex. When Jonathan meets “S,” he craves real intimacy, not just a one-night stand. However, intimacy is portrayed as possible without real commitment in marriage. In fact, marriage is never mentioned at all in the movie.
The film is well made and enjoyable, but the sexual elements and the story’s more sordid aspects are excessive.