Hoax, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -4

Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis. Written by William Wheeler. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom.

FILM SYNOPSIS: The Hoax, directed by Lasse Hallstrm, is inspired by true events in the life of Clifford Irving, the writer who nearly pulled off one of the most audacious media scams in history when his autobiography of Howard Hughes was published. Richard Gere stars as Irving, who claimed the book was based on in-person interviews he conducted with the reclusive billionaire, which were in fact completely bogus.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Im looking for the right adjective to describe this movie. There isnt just one (or at least one this marginal wordsmith can muster), for it is both appealing and appalling. The artists and technicians have combined their veteran skills, presenting a stimulating, even captivating movie experience. Richard Gere is outstanding as Clifford Irving, as is Alfred Molina as Richard Suskind. And Bill Wheelers script is absorbing and enlightening, for he shows us that there are brilliant people among us who could achieve riches and glory by legitimate means, but who prefer to gain glory on their own fraudulent terms.

A good director is part magician, part deceiver. Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, My Life As A Dog) personifies these qualities. By this films end, we are never quite sure where truth ended and allusion began. Therefore, whenever the astute moviegoer sees based on actual events or variations of that phrase at the opening of a movie, he would be well advised to take it with a grain of salt.

That said, The Hoax is an absorbing morality play, as it reveals the destruction of the soul by the building of a life on deception. The lies take control and with a vampiric resolve suck a soul dry. For every lie Irving manufactured, two more were needed to cover the first. In the beginning, we are as mesmerized by his craftiness as the publishers and cocktail party guests are deceived by his subterfuge. Irving is portrayed as a gifted storytelling on a par with Garrison Keillor. But suddenly the con-artist becomes caught in the down-pull of his duplicitous ways, much like a helpless animal in quicksand. We become alarmed to see a fellow human being consumed by paranoia to the point of madness. He is no longer an amusing wheeler-dealer. It is apparent that Irving has little regard for truth or for others. And we realize the past two hours have been spent glued to the misdeeds of a soulless man.Hoax is a solid movie, entertaining and persuasive, with cast and crew at the top of their form, but it is also a disturbing experience as we witness the fulfillment of the truism, Be sure your sins will find you out.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Though the dialogue is rich and entertaining, it is also peppered with throughout with rough and disrespectful expressions.

Obscene Language: There are nearly 30 f-words, with an equal amount of other obscenities.

Profanity: Six profane uses of Gods name and eight more of Christs.

Violence: The lead is punched and threatened with death by mysterious figures in the night.

Sex: The lead commits adultery.

Nudity: Brief female nudity.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: There are a few sexual remarks

Drugs: Social drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 115 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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