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Movie Review

Deception a.k.a. “The List,” “The Tourist,” “Manipulation”

MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, language, brief violence and some drug use

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Action, Thriller
1 hr. 48 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 25, 2008 (wide—2,000 theaters)
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

ADDICTION—How can I tell if I’m getting addicted to sex? Answer



How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

ADULTERY—What does the Bible say about adultery? Answer

NUDITY—Why are humans supposed to wear clothes? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Ewan McGregor
“Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones,” “Miss Potter”)

Hugh Jackman
X-Men” 1-3, “The Prestige

Michelle Williams
Brokeback Mountain,” “Dick

Maggie Q, Natasha Henstridge, Malcolm Goodwin, Lynn Cohen, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Zoe Perry, Daisy Bates, Aya Cash, Sonny Vellozzi, Holly Cruikshank, Andrew Ginsburg, Paul Sparks, Robert “Toshi” Kar Yuen Chan, Emelie Jeffries, Chandler Parker, [more]
Director: Marcel Langenegger
Producer: Robbie Brenner, David L. Bushell, Christopher Eberts, Phil Eisen, Hugh Jackman, John Palermo, Arnold Rifkin, Marjorie Shik, Marjorie Shik
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

“When you’re in this world, no one is who they seem, and everyone is playing the game.”

With his hair parted to the side and a pair of nerdy glasses, Ewan McGregor plays a rueful loner named Jonathan Messer. Jonathan’s job is to audit large firms, a job that automatically places him on a detested list. Without any friends or family, Jonathan quietly does his audits in empty offices long after the world has gone home to enjoy their own families and lives. His dreary existence finds some spark when the self-assured Wyatt Bose saunters into his life. Extending Jonathan an invitation of friendship, Wyatt offers to give him an entrance to his enticing world. Jonathan goes along for the ride.

During an outing, Wyatt and Jonathan inadvertently switch cell phones. Jonathan soon sees how seductive Wyatt’s world is when his phone continuously rings with females simply asking: “Are you free tonight?” Reluctant at first, Wyatt encourages Jonathan to make use of his phone. Jonathan soon gains the courage to meet with one of the anonymous females. After the meeting, Jonathan is introduced to a secretive sex club, where its sexually active members never ask names or have personal talk. They only meet to have sex and move on.

Auditor by day, Jonathan becomes a sexual addict by night. After enjoying the anonymous sex club for sometime, Jonathan becomes surprise when a woman he randomly calls turns out to be ‘S’ (Michelle Williams). ‘S’ is a beautiful woman with whom Jonathan had once seen in a subway. Although they had exchanged a brief conversation, Jonathan had been held fascinated by her beauty. Realizing she had walked back into his life, Jonathan refuses her advances and asks her to stay for dinner. Refusing to tell him her name, Jonathan becomes more enraptured by her enigmatic nature. After a second dinner, ‘S’ mysteriously disappears.

With a sinister grin, Wyatt turns out to be a conman who demands Jonathan smuggle millions during his next audit, if he wants ‘S’ to be returned alive. Racing against the clock, Jonathan is determined to find ‘S’ and to corner Wyatt with his own twist.

The film is mostly saved by the stellar performances of the talented trio. Hugh Jackman plays a convincing criminal. It was interesting watching him turn from a self-assured friend with a pearly smile into the evil mastermind with a twisted motive. Michelle Williams fit the role perfectly with her role as ‘S.’ She was able to perfectly create that mesmerizing, alluring gaze. Ewan McGregor brought his boyish charm to create a convincingly lonely auditor who was fascinated and eventually seduced into the elusive world.

The movie is the typical good guy vs. bad guy film. It also sticks to the formula of the main character becoming a detective and never calling the police. The ending is not entirely believable and a bit annoying.

For an “R” rated movie, Deception contains moderate profanity. There are 18 uses of profanity, including 10 “f” words, and one GD. The name of Jesus and the Lord’s is said in vain at least 6 times.

There is also a moderate amount of violence. Two dead victims are shown; Jonathan gets knocked-out by getting hit on the head. One character is shot and shown bleeding. An apartment blows up, and a quick glimpse of a body is shown.

What required me to rate this movie extremely offensive was the sexual content. When joining the anonymous sex club, Jonathan sleeps with quite a few women. The sex scenes are extremely graphic, showing full nudity and including audio noises. One female kept getting her breasts groped. There is a scene where rough sexual intercourse is suggested.

The character of Wyatt Bose reminded me of Satan. While trying to develop a friendship with Jonathan, Wyatt consistently asked Jonathan questions. In fact, the first words that ever came out of Wyatt’s mouth was a question. From, if Jonathan smoked marijuana, to the number of partners he had. Each question shocked the shy Jonathan, but they soon made him more comfortable, daring, and happy, while he reminiscenced. When Satan was a serpent in the Garden of Eden, the first words to ever come out of his mouth was a question when he asked Eve, “Did God really say ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Likewise, the serpent asked a mere question, but by answering it, Eve became curious and was deceived.

When Wyatt first meets Jonathan, he cunningly displays full confidence and handsome looks. Yes, Wyatt is a conman, but he is a wise one. He dressed up his appearance to fool Jonathan into trusting him. Tricked by Wyatt’s professional demeanor, Jonathan falls for the deception and wants to become part of Wyatt’s world. People often believe that Satan is a hideous creature. While he is an evil creature, he is also a ‘wise’ conman. He wants people to sin, so he makes himself alluring. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul wrote:

“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

The awesome news, however, is that we have the Lord to unveil our eyes and protect us. In James 3:7, it says to…

“Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Although the film has enormous talent which strengthens the partially weak story line, as a believer in Christ, I cannot recommend this movie. The Scripture says to “hold on to everything good. Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). This movie’s entire concept of anonymous sex is evil and can even be a bit tempting. However, in the real world, there are the risks of STDs and the ruining of relationships, when one engages in such promiscuity. However, all of those risks fail in comparison when taking into account God’s view on sex. Sex is only holy within the confines of a marriage. The Lord made it abundantly clear that adulterers would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. With that in mind, stay away from this movie and its misleading invitation.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I just love that there are no comments here so far. Because, why do we all come to this site? To find out a Christian or moral perspective on films. I did not see this movie. Reading what it’s about, I don’t think we, as followers of Christ, need to see this movie. Garbage in garbage out. I’m sad, because the only reason I wanted to see what it’s about is because I love Hugh Jackman and Iwan McGregor (sp?) So I think they need to go find better movies to be in again. Like The Prestige and The Island. Those were pretty good. Anyway, snaps to all of you who chose not to see this film simply because of it’s story line.

God bless!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Chris Wileman, age 40