Retro Review: Deception (2008) Was Ewan McGregor’s Erotic Thriller the Crapfest We Were Told?



Ewan McGregor and Maggie Q


I’ve previously expressed the view that Ewan McGregor is rather a lazy actor, on occasion capable of a strong performance (eg The Ghost, Haywire), but more often than not content to phone it in, his roles mainly distinguished by a succession of overly styled hairdos and/or facial furniture… Bearing that in mind, I fully expected to regard his 2008 erotic-thriller Deception as another ‘meh’ experience.


Originally called the slightly less generic The List, Deception was blighted by the straight-to-video title and the uncertain appetite of the cinema-going public for more of McGregor’s ‘size-driven‘ penchant for onscreen nudity (The Pillow Book etc).


But…it’s actually not that bad. Not great mind you, but watchable, especially if you zone out some of the dopier plot twists.


Official Trailer: Deception (2008)


Without revealing the intricacies of the storyline; McGregor stars as nebbish accountant Jonathan McQuarry, who suffers from what must be the all-time chronic case of blue balls, and as consequence finds himself caught up in the sex club schemes of lawyer Wyatt Bose, played by Hugh Jackman.  Michelle Williams stars as the mysterious ‘S’ whilst Maggie Q, Charlotte Rampling and Natasha (Species) Henstridge* feature as the other women McGregor encounters through the nookie operation.


McGregor is in sad-sack mode for much of the picture, whilst Jackman (who also produced) gives a cheesy spin to  the role of Bose.  The sole picture to date of Swiss director Marcel Langenegger, Deception was scripted by Mark Bomback (the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy, Outlaw King and The Wolverine).




Perhaps unsurprisingly, Deception made only $17.7m on a $25m budget. Check it out, as U.S. President Trump would say, ‘what have you got lose?’


Aside from 100 odd minutes of your life and the cost of the dvd/rental etc…




*FUN FACT: I met Natasha at the LA Upfronts in the mid-2000s.

And a very nice lady she was too.

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Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'