- Goldie Hawn as Adrienne Saunders
- John Heard as Jack Saunders
It isn’t a top-tier thriller but Deceived still manages to be surprising and filled with suspense for everyone to feel. Featuring Goldie Hawn in a dramatic departure from her usual comedy, Deceived is a pretty well executed movie that is often overlooked if I must say so.
Attractive Adrienne, who is an art restorer briefly meets handsome curator Jack at a restaurant when she is stood up on a blind date. They later see each other at Adrienne’s work, and the spark between them is set. After a whirlwind romance, the two marry and we pick up with them five years later where they have a daughter named Mary. Yet trouble and doubt creep into paradise with a series of events that cause Adrienne to question her husband. First of all, a man who works with Jack discovers that a recently arrived artifact has actually been substituted for a fake, but is then murdered before he can tell anyone. A friend of Adrienne’s claims she saw Jack in New York when he said he was in Boston. Plus, many things that Jack has told Adrienne aren’t adding up. Yet just after airing her suspicions about Jack, he is killed in a freak car accident. Devastated by this, Adrienne does her best to be strong for Mary, but can’t shake the feelings of something being very untoward. These are heightened when Adrienne is informed that her seemingly by the book husband was actually using the name of a man who has been dead for over sixteen years, sending her into a tailspin as her suspicions regarding his death come to life. And someone from a distance is stalking Adrienne without her knowledge. It appears that Jack may be very much alive and hiding somewhere, the deeper Adrienne digs. Yet she can’t be sure of anything because of the smoke screens that keep getting thrown up and somehow pull the recent rash of bizarre events together. Somehow Adrienne must make sense of all of these tangled threads as her own life is in jeopardy the more she marches towards answers.
Damian Harris is on hand for directing duties and his handling of the thriller is pretty great. He lulls you into that false sense of security in the beginning before unearthing the sinister nature underneath. The pace is one that really keeps you engrossed for the most part of it all, complete with a few neat surprises. There is a wintry feel to Deceived that plays into the visuals and renders things in a chilly and unusual format. This is employed stylishly when the tension is cranked up and Adrienne is put in significant danger because of her desire to know the truth about the man she called her husband. Not all of the twists that Deceived takes are exactly what you’d call logical and some do fall flat, but most of them are by and large excellent at keeping the audience on their toes. Suspense is handled in a relatively efficient way, with the unraveling of real identity and possible danger for Adrienne take centre stage. Especially in the last half, Deceived becomes quicker and a cat and mouse game emerges, filling the screen with a great amount of thrills. There is something Hitchcockian about quite a lot of Deceived and while it’s nowhere near the work of the great Master, it manages to sustain some chills. Thomas Newman is on music duty and the tension is raised significantly by his switching tempos and sense of creeping suspense.
I really enjoyed seeing Goldie Hawn in a more mature and serious part that showed her in a different light. If her work in Deceived is anything to go by, she should really delve into more drama because she has the chops for it in how she downplays her effervescent and bubbly personality for something effectively subdued. Hawn excels at being very natural and believable playing a woman whose life comes crashing down around her, when she witnesses that her husband really wasn’t the man she thought he was. Levels of vulnerability, feelings of betrayal and ounces of strength help as Hawn gets the audience to sympathise with her and want her to get to the bottom of the knotty events, that may also prove fatal for her if she isn’t careful. Purposefully mysterious is John Heard, who relishes the opportunity to play such a sly and potentially dangerous man. Exuding a calculating charm and smooth approach, the talented John Heard makes Jack someone who may appear genuine, but who clearly has something sinister on his agenda.
Not what you’d call the best thriller there is but pacy and filled with enough twists to keep you guessing, Deceived triumphs based on that and the opportunity to see Goldie Hawn in something serious. For an hour or so of thrills, Deceived could be a winner for you. I personally think it’s quite an underappreciated film.