Manipulation is an untruth wrapped in a seductive veneer.  Predatory manipulators target the gullible who continually dream of a higher status.  Deception’s sharply attired schemer uses his skills as his main aphrodisiac.  With the central story and characters in place, the film unfortunately succumbs to unfocused direction and terminal mis-casting.  Like its title audiences become the victims of their own cinematic deception.
Lonely accountant Jonathan (Ewan McGregor) spends his days auditing wealthy firms’ books.  Tired of his solitary existence, he becomes entranced by businessman Wyatt (Hugh Jackman).  Inviting him into his social circle, Wyatt gives Jonathan the taste of the good life.  After mistakenly procuring Wyatt’s phone, Jonathan becomes involved with ‘The List’, a sex club for high flying executives. Becoming enraptured with one of its clients known as S (Michelle Williams), his undoing begins when he is trapped in an apparent murder and heist. This leads to the susceptible player regretting his midnight rendezvous.
Deception attempts to convey how someone can become an unwitting puppet.  The sprinkling of money and good times caresses the victim into doing their controller’s bidding.  What’s fascinating is how ‘The List’ represents its participants desire to create their own private world fulfilling their sense of ambitious self worth.  Although these aspects are infinitely intriguing, they are tossed away by plot holes bigger than Wyatt’s empty promises. The supposed shocking plot twists are telegraphed early with clunky dialogue detracting from what should have been an involving experience.
Casting people for the right roles is something Deception ignores.  Hugh Jackman doesn’t have the ruthless streak required to be believable with his charming cad vanishing for long stretches.  Ewan McGregor’s wild reputation precedes him as his bookish loner never rings true.  Williams adds some noir-ish touches in her femme fatale role although it’s too fleeting to create any real impact.  The digital cinematography successfully captures the nightscapes the characters thrive which considerably adds to the atmosphere. 
The routine path Deception follows subtracts its interesting elements.  Ending with an inexplicably ludicrous conclusion, the early good work is sadly undone. With better films going straight to DVD, Deception proves that star power alone can elevate a dud to a theatrical release.
Rating out of 10:  3

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