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Hollywood loves con artists, probably because movie audiences never appear to tire of watching yet one more poor sucker being bamboozled and swindled. It makes us feel superior-"I'd never fall for THAT!" (Er-right.)
Director Lasse Hallstrom has delivered a smashing entry in the genre with his new movie, "The Hoax". The film is based on the story of Clifford Irving, a struggling writer who toiled in relative obscurity until he stumbled onto an idea for "the most important book of the 20th century"-the "Autobiography of Howard Hughes". The book was the most hyped literary event of 1972, and would assure Irving the notoriety he craved. Heck, he even made the cover of Time. Unfortunately, his Time portrait was slugged with "Con Man of the Year", because as it turned out, the "autobiography" was a bit of a surprise to Mr. Hughes, because, you see, Mr. Irving made the whole thing up (oops). The books were unceremoniously yanked from the shelves soon after their debut.
Richard Gere tears through the lead role with an intensity we haven't
seen from him in quite a while. His Clifford Irving is a charlatan and a compulsive liar, to be sure, but Gere makes him sympathetic in a carefully measured portrayal and never stoops to audience pandering. Even as he digs himself into an ever deepening hole, and you cover your eyes because you know the other shoe is going to drop at any time, you've just gotta love this guy's pure chutzpah.Read more ›
Richard Gere does well in his portrayal of struggling author Irving, a man obviously devoid of a conscience, who conjures up the idea of faking a Hughes autobiography. He figures that the reclusive Hughes would never surface to dispute the veracity of Irving's well researched but fictitious novel. Alfred Molina playing Gere's neurotic sidekick and co-conspirator Dick Susskind is magnificent in his role, giving the movie a comic flair. Marcia Gay Harden with dyed blonde tresses and a disturbing foreign accent was annoying as Irving's wife Edith.
Hallstrom did well in demostrating the extent of Irving's delusions, actually believing himself to be in contact with Hughes and his minions. 91 year old Eli Wallach, always a treat to see on the screen, was delightful playing old codger Noah Dietrich, once a right hand man of Hughes. The movie was insightful in tying in the effect of Irving's hoax, the machinations of Hughes himself who actually communicated disavowing Irving's chicanery and important current events and the day.
Thankfully, I was wrong. It actually turned out to be a great film, and not only did the filmmakers not mess it up, they elevated the material beyond what my already-high expectations were going in. From the taut and smart script (which in my opinion is worthy of an Adapted Screenplay Oscar Nomination) to the inventive cinematography, from the (as always) imaginative direction to a surprisingly non-showboaty performance from Richard Gere (not to mention scene-stealing performances by actors in supporting roles), "The Hoax" is right up there with the best films I've seen all year.
For those of you not in the know, the story centers around (and is based on a book by) Clifford Irving, who - as we meet him in the movie - had already (quite aptly, it turns out) written the book Fake, with forgery as its subject (and you can see the real Clifford Irving in Orson Welles' classic 1974 film "F for Fake"). Now he's received verbal agreement that his publishing house, McGraw Hill, will be putting out his second book, the unfortunately named Rudnick's Problem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rollicking fun of 40-something frat boys who are not afraid to make fools of anyone in the way of their desires and goals... Read morePublished 6 months ago by J Kragt
Great story that is also based on a true account. Richard Gere portrays this complicated man, who is such a con, he believes his own lies, while convincing everyone, including the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by EMK
After watching the first hour or so, I wondered why I had purchased it. Storyline was interesting, but lacked energy. Then a brief scene showed me why I had made the purchase. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jennifer Lucas
Fabulous film and you won't stop laughing! Richard Gere and Alfred Molina make a terrific pair as they work to fabricate the book of the century--Howard Hughes's... Read morePublished 19 months ago by mike6
I thought it was an interesting premise and did enjoy watching it. Will probably never bother to watch it again. I might actually be interested in an actual bio of Howard Hughes.Published 21 months ago by Doris Skinner
Not quite what I expected for a Richard Gere movie, but an OK watch, never-the-less.Published 22 months ago by Rita Smith
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