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The Deceivers - The Merchant Ivory Collection

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(Jan 18, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

India, 1825: the country is being ravaged by the Thugees, cult members also known as "The Deceivers," who commit robbery and ritualistic murder. Appalled by their activities, English Captain William Savage undertakes a hazardous task: in disguise he will infiltrate their ranks. He is at constant risk of betrayal and vengeance and undergoes a disturbing psychological transformation as he experiences the cult's bloodlust firsthand. Starring Pierce Brosnan and stunningly photographed by Walter Lassally, The Deceivers is a gripping adventure—reportedly based on a true story—that charts one man's daring exploits.

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Saeed Jaffrey, Shashi Kapoor, Helena Michell, Keith Michell
  • Directors: Nicholas Meyer
  • Writers: John Masters, Michael Hirst
  • Producers: Ismail Merchant, Leon Falk, Michael White, Tim Van Rellim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Merchant Ivory
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HBZZ6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,859 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Deceivers - The Merchant Ivory Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
THE DECEIVERS is a surpisingly captivating film, seducing us as well as the main character -- before any of us know it, we're all caught up in the Thuggee world. The movie wisely underplays its hand, eschewing narration and letting us follow Captain Savage's descent into near-madness. The movie also deserves plaudits for not giving us a cut-and-dried "happy ending," making the film far more haunting than if the filmmakers had left things neat and tidy.
Pierce Brosnan turns in a sterling performance as Captain Savage, capturing every nuance of his situation. Some reviewers have singled out Brosnan's performance for faint praise or outright disdain, but I can only figure that they're reacting to the "Bond" image rather than actually viewing Brosnan's performance (or bothering to truly evaluate and understand his career, which is punctuated with many challenging roles and first-rate performances, from a bit part in THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY to THE FOURTH PROTOCOL to THE TAILOR OF PANAMA). Make no mistake, Brosnan's is a great performance, and THE DECEIVERS may be my favorite of his films.
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Format: DVD
Based on a John Masters novel, Merchant Ivory Films brings to the screen a true and deeply disturbing tale of dark spirituality from exotic India, circa 1825.

Pierce Brosnan plays the part of William Savage (a rather interesting choice for a last name considering the subject matter of this film), a British Captain who accidently uncovers the existence of a sinister cult of assassins dedicated to the service and worship of the bloodthirsty Goddess Kali. They are the "Thugee", meaning 'deceivers' and they wander the mainroads disguised as holy pilgrims or jewel carriers. They befriend unwary travellers encountered along the way and quickly earn their trust, all the while intending to rob and kill them when night falls.

Unable to gain the support of his superior officers to help stamp out the robberies and ritualistic murders being carried out by this evil cult, Captain Savage decides to try and expose the Thugee cult by becoming one of them. He disguises himself as Gopal, a local villager who mysteriously disappeared some months earlier. This is an identity that he has taken once before. Gopal's wife has been plagued with re-occurring dreams of her husband's death since his absence and she now considers herself a widow. As was the custom of the time, she had decided to proceed with the ceremony of sati, self-immolation on a funeral pyre. Captain Savage had been successful in his brief masquerade as Gopal, fooling the distraught woman well enough to bring about a temporary postponement in her impending death. But would this same disguise work with the Thugee?

The disguise works and soon he is drawn into the inner circle of the Thugee. Initially utilized as a gravedigger, he is forced to passively observe the horrific ritual murders carried out by the assassins.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is an interesting exploration of the Thuggee cult of India, as it existed in the mid nineteenth century. Members of this cult worshipped the goddess, Kali, and were called "Thugs". Known to each other through secret phrases and rituals, the Thugs, who were an organized group of professional robbers, had a most interesting modus operandi. They would kill innocent travelers by garroting them with a weighted scarf, relieve them of their worldly goods, and then bury them so that they would seem to have vanished off the face of the earth. During their existence, members of the Thuggee cult were estimated to have killed over two million people, before being wiped out by the British, with the cooperation of the existing Indian government of that time.
This film, based upon a book of the same name by John Masters, explores this ancient, secret society. It features Pierce Brosnan as a British officer, William Savage, who comes upon this cult in action. He further investigates, but his efforts prove futile, until he manages to infiltrate this cult, disguised as a native of India. He does this with the aid of a Thug, who believes that the goddess Kali has turned her back on him.
As the film progresses, Gophal, as William Savage now calls himself, becomes enmeshed in the activities of the cult. So great is his involvement, that he is in danger of losing himself to its tenets. It is as if he were undergoing a personal psychosis. It is not until his Thug informant realizes what is happening to him and tries to assist him, resulting in British troops coming to the rescue, that Gophal/William snaps out of his role playing. It is William's infiltration of the Thuggee cult, however, that is the catalyst for subsequent action taken to wipe out this evil and murderous society.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I am both a fan of John Masters (author of the historical novel, "The Deceivers") and a professional anthropologist dealing with the cultures of India. This film is an undiscovered masterpiece! It is faithful to the written version in a rare way; but, it also portrays India, its culture, its peoples, and its history during the Rajput era in a manner that remains unexcelled by documentary films more explicitly tailored toward so doing. I recommend this movie to anyone seeking a good mystery; a good adventure; or a worthwhile excursion into Rajput era India. It is a shame that it has not been reissued. P.S.- Brosnon is at his own very best in this film!
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