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Deceiver
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Reviews & Ratings for
Deceiver More at IMDbPro »

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53 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

You'll love the movie if you are intelligent enough to understand the psychological games

8/10
Author: Philip Van der Veken from Tessenderlo, Belgium
16 November 2004

It isn't too hard to understand why this movie wasn't a great success at the box office. Most people expect to see an average Hollywood version of a cop movie and they will be very disappointed when seeing this one. No, it isn't about the good cop chasing the bad guys, making a beautiful little hole in the forehead of everyone that doesn't obey the law. This movie is much more subtle and probably a lot harder to understand for a lot of people.

In fact, the whole movie is created around only three actors. But not just three actors, we are talking about Chris Penn, Tim Roth and Michael Rooker, who all did an excellent job. Trust me, never have I been more fascinated by three men in a darkened room, pushing each other to their mental and physical limits.

This is how the story goes: A prostitute has been murdered and there is one suspect. He's an extremely intelligent, epileptic alcoholic who is able to deceive everybody, even the polygraph. His investigators try to make him confess the murder by playing little mind games, only to see that he outsmarts them time after time.

The dialogs are fascinating, the use of flashbacks very interesting. Add some tense interrogation scenes with a lot of psychological war fare and a huge plot twist at the end of the movie and you know you have something special. I guess those psychological games will not be understood by everybody, but you'll love it if you are intelligent enough to understand them. I know I did and I give this movie an 8/10.

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30 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Dark and suspenseful '90s film noir

Author: kmcelroy2 from United States
27 June 2001

The cast, the camera work, the music and the dialogue all create a dark and surreal tone that's haunting and riveting. Tim Roth, Renee Zellweger and Ellen Burstyn all dominate so completely that you can't look at anyone else when they're onscreen. It's as much an exercise in acting and "mood" as anything, but the story is fun to follow. I don't think it's supposed to be "believable" in the literal sense. How can it be when they throw in epilepsy, absinthe, prostitution, family dysfunction, etc. Every character was well-cast (LOVED the psychologist) and the tension and undertones in the actor's interactions with each other make it an impossible-to-forget movie. It's one of the few I own. The scenes with Mook (Burstyn) as well as those with Roth and Zellweger are ingenious. A movie that must be watched closely to understand the ending.

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26 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A movie where the acting comes first.

Author: martymaster (martymaster@hotmail.com) from Fredrikstad, Norway
19 June 2002

This movie has first class acting.Tim Rooth delivers a great performance and so does Michael Rooker.The movie is very dark and mysterious.A big part of the movie takes place in a little room,but this just helps make the movie even better.The story is really clever and it reminds me a lot of Usual suspects.This movie uses good camera work and great acting to build the story,and that is they way it should be.Good thriller with lots of suspense.

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22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

I love this movie

10/10
Author: Straightforward from United States
4 February 2006

I love a movie that will capture me from the beginning and never let go. This movie was like that for me. This is the movie that made me a fan of TIM ROTH. He is fascinating to watch, and the character he plays is fascinating to watch.

The movie goes into the psychology of each of the lead players, and I found myself collecting ever more answers -- with always a few more questions with each answer.

It's not one of those kinds of films that tries to make sure you know the answer to anything -- yet lets you see most everything -- and still find yourself wondering. It's got little action, yet is continually stimulating and thought-provoking, interesting and fun to watch.

I've seen this movie more than once and it's one of those rare films I know I will enjoy watching again and again -- and I think that every time I watch it I have new answers -- and new questions. Anyone interested in psychology will love this film. The acting are all excellent, the cinematography wonderfully mood-setting, the direction superb. I gave it 10 stars.

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13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

2 cops try to solve a murder by using a polygraph

8/10
Author: helpless_dancer from Broken Bow, Oklahoma
6 September 1999

An epileptic man takes a lie detector test to prove he had nothing to do with the death of a stripper. During the test, the private lives of the investigators comes to light due to an investigation by the investigated man. This causes the case to take a strange turn. The film flashed back and forth in time showing the cheap tawdry lives of all involved in the bizarre circumstances. Great story and fascinating dialogue kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. 4 stars.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Lie Detectors Don't Tell the TRUTH!

10/10
Author: whpratt1 from United States
21 October 2004

This was a very different film with very difficult roles to play and all the actors, Chris Penn, Ellen Burstyn and Renee Zellweger all did a fantastic job in trying to make this film believable. Most of the film deals with flashbacks, lots of sitting down with lie detectors and even the police wind up having to take a test. There are many twists and turns to this story and you really cannot look away too quickly or you will find yourself getting lost and completely mixed up. After viewing this picture, you can see why Lie Detectors are not really used in a COURT OF LAW! The ending of this film will fool you completely! The cops and bad guy in this film all have secrets and some how, it all works out in the END!

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Poor story and average structure take away from the tough acting and tense atmosphere

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
10 October 2004

A prostitute is brutally murdered and the police's only lead is James Walter Wayland, a drunken epileptic who is heir to a very successful textiles company. With little to go on but his testimony, Detectives Braxton and Kennesaw hook him up to a polygraph and begin to question him further. Wayland's arrogance and contempt for them immediately rubs them up the wrong way and they increasingly suspect that he is not telling them everything. They keep pushing him, aware of his illness, in the hope that he will start to crack. However what they never foresaw was that Wayland would push back, getting information on both the men and turning the tables on them.

With a pretty heavy weight cast, I was attracted to this film when it went by the much better name of 'Liar' in the UK without really knowing a great deal about it. The film has an interesting premise and offers a good flashback structure with some tense interrogation scenes but the plot is not strong enough to really deliver this and ends up twisting into some silly places that fail to convince. The development of the story meant we were thrown in at the deep end – not a problem at first, but I never really got a handle on the film until near the end, making sections of it unengaging. The way the plot turns and twists is also a problem, because very little of it actually rings true, with some of it seeming extreme or just plain nonsensical. It is delivered well though, the interview room is used to increase the tension and seems to become steadily darker throughout the film to produce a good mood.

This tense mood is helped by a pretty good cast, in particular the lead three who have enough testosterone to start a riot. Roth plays the meatier role from the start and he does have fun even if I didn't think his epileptic thing really worked that well. Penn is OK but doesn't have much to do other than bash heads with his co-stars, but it is Rooker who manages to steal a lot of the film. Starting with the feel of just a tough guy role, Rooker delivers a much more complex person with self-loathing that is convincing (up until the script takes his character away). The three interact well and the tension between them almost covers from the fact that the story isn't actually that good – but their shared scenes at least have a tough energy that makes them watchable. Support from Arquette, Zellweger and Burstyn is fleeting but adds the feeling of depth.

Overall this is not that good a film; the story isn't convincing and is full of silly jumps, nor is it structured that well. However these problems are slightly covered by three tough actors in a small dark room, providing a reasonably good sense of tension and urgency. Of course without the story to back them up, the film gradually starts to come apart and delivers a deeply unsatisfying ending, but it just about has enough going for it to make it watchable.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Unconventional film, thought provoking, excellent portrayal

Author: waterdancer from Hawaii
29 August 2003

The movie "Deceiver" was done in a very creative and unusual style. Unconventional camera angles and editing lent well to the story line's confusion and general uneasiness that the actors themselves were feeling. The film is thought provoking with excellent character portrayals. Tim Roth's performance was exceptionally believable and extremely well done. All in all, a very well thought out production that I thoroughly enjoyed!

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A very dark and ultimately impressive Mystery drama.

Author: mickeyboy86 from London, England
7 September 2001

This has to be a very impressive and completely underrated crime mystery-drama of '97. Tim Roth is very nicely cast as the seemingly innocent but deeply emmersed "rich kid", "Ya come looking, ya might not like what ya find!". And from there we are aware of the possibility of a slightly bitter note to end on but not sure how. Chris Penn is also very good in a relative, ordinary, and completely ignorant role, particularly towards his partner. Speaking of whom, Mike Rooker is outstanding, this being his greatest performance since "Henry..". Good support is supplied by Zellweger and Burstyn and the director certainly knew his screenplay as it is sharper than Rooker's character. Definataly worth a few Golden Globe Awards, namely to Rooker & Roth, if not Oscars. A totally interesting drama emmersed with dark and vile horror.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

badly flawed high baroque murder thriller

5/10
Author: donaldking from United Kingdom
29 January 2011

This has hints of Abel Ferrara about it (esp. the welcome appearance of the late and lamented Chris Penn from Ferrara's 'The Funeral.') I've seen this twice now, and am still not quite sure who really murdered Elizabeth. It doesn't really matter, I suppose, but there's a sense here in which style predominates a bit too strongly over substance. Michael Rooker & Tim Roth overact a bit - so the steadying presence of Chris Penn is helpful here. I'd liked to have known more about Roth's upbringing and so forth than we're granted. The scenes of him with his parents & friends are some of the best - all that baloney with lie detectors in dimly lit rooms becomes a bit dreary after a while.

Nice to see 1) Michael Parks (one of the nastiest villains in Twin Peaks) - here confirming one's idea that psychiatrists and psychologists are easily more strange and conflicted than their patients, and 2) Mark Damon - most famous in American cinema from Roger Corman's Fall of the House of Usher way back in 1960! Worth an outing if you should ever get bored with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but hardly worth all the effort you need to expend in an attempt to 'work out the story.' (By the way, are all American police really like this?)

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