Friday, January 25, 2008

The Hoax

Clifford Irving (Richard Gere) was just another rejected writer when he decided he had enough. Irving constructed a premise to write a book on recluse Howard Hughes. Everyone wanted to know more about the famous billionare, but he hadn't been seen in public in a decade. Hughes couldn't come forth in court room since there was a pending lawsuit in regards to TWA. With that in mind, Irving decides that is the perfect chance to cash in, especially if Hughes can't sue him. Irving gets his editor (The wonderful Hope Davis) to bite that he and his friend (Alfred Molina) were picked by Hughes to write his autobiography.

What follows is a story of a man, Irving, who wants the spotlight at all cost. His lies get him in deeper with his wife (Marcia Gay Harden) and his publishers. Lots of nice cameos including Eli Wallach, Stanley Tucci, and Julie Delpy (And one of her boobs).

The director Lasse Hallstrom is quite an enigma. Reading his Imdb page is a scattershot of failures and vanity projects since his big screen debut of What's Eating Gilbert Grape? His biggest triumph was the superb Chocolat. I'm very intrigued to see the bomb Casanova with it's late star Heath Ledger. In The Hoax, Hallstrom keeps it simple and moving along. The story is so strong you don't need a stong hand to mess it up. Molina is especially terrific here as Irving's collegue Dick Suskin. Gere is perfectly casted as a showboat that craves attention. Only Harden falters here with her awful generic European accent. Why didn't they call Nadtassja Kinski? The role screams out for her!

It is kind of an odd proposition that The Hoax didn't do better in theatres. It received mostly positive reviews, but seems destined for better days on DVD. This film is wildly entertaining that goes down even better if you don't know anything about the event. This would be a marvelous double feature paired with Scorsese's The Aviator afterwards to really get an idea of Hughes.


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