Tuesday, August 07, 2007

THE HOAX - Richard Gere in outstanding performance shock!

Who knew?! Richard Gere throws off the facial ticks and smarm that make-up so many of his performances for a genuinely gripping turn as the real-life author and compulsive liar, Clifford Irving. Gere perfectly captures the genius of the failed author who displayed a gift for empathising with reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes and sold a fake autobiography to McGraw-Hill publishing for a cool million bucks. The key is to make the character so charming that you almost want him to succeed but to under-cut his winning nature with a barely acknowledge manipulative streak. Nowhere is this more evident than in Irving's willingness to frame his best friend (played by the ever-brilliant Alfred Molina) as an adulterer.

There's lots to like here apart from Gere's performance. For a start, this really is an important and fascinating true-life story. Hughes knew Irving was faking his autobiography and anonymously sent Irving material incriminating Richard Nixon. What Irving didn't figure out till too late was that Hughes didn't want to bring Nixon down. Rather, he just wanted to scare Nixon into doing his bidding. And Nixon was scared. So scared that he allegedly ordered the Watergate break-in partly to snoop for advanced copies of the book!

Other great things about this pic: the production design and sound-track place us firmly in the late 60s/early 70s and the script-writers are good at making a contemporary audience understand the magnetic pull of the Hughes mythology. The film also boasts a strong supporting cast with Stanley Tucci, Hope Davis and Julie Delpy donning period costumes and Marcia Gay Harden struggling manfully under a bad wig. It all adds up to a high quality, intelligent movie that will appeal to those with an unhealthy interest in how establishment power structures (and bad marriages) really work.

THE HOAX was released earlier this year in the US, the Netherlands, Russia, Iceland, Belgium, France, Turkey, Israel and Portugal. It is currently on release in the UK. It opens in Finland on August 24th and in Brazil and Norway on August 31st 2007.


  1. its not so much fun when great underground movies arent available in iceland! but i want to see this one, badly.

    great post

  2. I sympathise with you! But I'll also post here as soon as the movie is available on DVD....

  3. i thought alfred molina was terrific (the "prune" part cracked me up,but towards the end his role became less important so that was a bit unpleasant)-i agree with you on richard gere (rarely do i find his characters magnetic,even all the dancing & singing couldn't strip the lethargy off his character in Chicago)-but i felt that the film got a bit too smart & ott for it's own good at the end,when the delusions came into play,but overall a good film,though underrated by most.