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Merchant Ivory Does Historical Thriller That Doesn't Really Work
I'm sure every schoolboy knows where the word " Thug " originates from . If not I'll reeducate you by saying the word is derived from the word " thugee " which apart from being the Hindi word for " thief " is also the name of a notorious cult from India where a group of men would befriend travelers along the Indian sub-continent and then strangle them . THE DECIEVERS based upon the John Masters book tells of the story of a British army officer who infiltrated the group
It doesn't seem to be able to tell the story well and one can't help thinking that being a Merchant Ivory production this might be to blame . It's rather stodgy and director Nicholas Meyer seems to be more interested in exotic beauty and cultural diversity of 1820s India than he is in telling a tension filled cinematic thriller . Ironically enough when it does try to mirror the classic era of Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s it comes across as being clichéd
A great pity because there's so much potential here that the production gets right such as pointing out that in the 1820s it was the British East India company and not the British monarch or the British government who ruled India . If you're worried about corporate capitalism in the 21st Century I can guarantee you it was much worse two hundred years ago . As you'd expect with this production company the costume design is exemplary . It's also a film that makes good use of sound editing where when the Thugees commit their murders a spine chilling " SWISH " type sound blasts out from the screen and is so effective it left me truly puzzled why Meyer didn't more to make THE DECEIVERS a more enthralling film
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