Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Hoax: Grade A


The Hoax (2006)

Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden. Director Lasse Hallstrom.

Since the success of Capote last year, there have been several movies about novel writers and their New York publishers. I think there was even a second Capote movie. In this rendition, Gere plays Clifford Irving, a writer who in the 1970’s wrote a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes and sold it to McGraw Hill for millions. He was found out and went to jail, so there isn’t much dramatic suspense built into the story. What keeps the story alive is Gere’s acting, yes, actual acting. I usually avoid Gere movies, but here he shows unexpected talent. Is the character a psychopathic liar or just a desperate and creative man who must continue to one-up himself? It must have been good directing that brought Gere out. The overwrought sidekick (Molina) is difficult to decipher but he is an interesting face actor. Marcia Gay Harden looks good as Irving’s wife. I couldn’t tell what kind of an accent she was putting on, but her performance was somehow both comedic and serious at the same time. This is not a great movie but it remains engaging throughout. Also, it is nice to see an intelligent story about real human dynamics, with no explosions, murders, gang fights, or drug sniffing; okay maybe a little money laundering, tops.

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