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The Hoax – Movie Review

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“Is it still a lie if you believe it?”
_ The Hoax _
Title: The Hoax
You can’t write a script as intriguing as real life; especially when that real life was made up to begin with. The Hoax is based on or inspired by, at times it is hard to tell, two novels, one that was false and one that could be true. Confused? Luckily the movie is more straightforward than the actual description. Throughout history people have worked harder at doing wrong than they ever would have had they chose the path of truth. Lies breed lies. There is no doubt about that. And those lies can consume to the point that reality becomes oddly skewed. The Hoax depicts that fact while entertaining the audience with spot on performances. If you are looking for a well acted, fun ride of lies and manipulation this is your film.
It’s the 1970’s and Clifford Irving (Richard Gere) is a writer who just can’t seem to catch a break. He gets right to the edge of a breakthrough only to have it fall flat every time. When he decides to wow his publisher with the story of a lifetime, he ends up way in over his head and destroys the lives of those around him. With the help of his wife (Marcia Gay Harden) and another fellow writer (Alfred Molina), Irving concocts a hoax to convince the higher ups that he has secured an exclusive deal with the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes to write his autobiography.
The film is written by the real life Irving and details the lengths he went though in order to gather information about Hughes while at the same time keeping Howard’s people off his back and his publishers from finding out the truth. Though it is based on these true events the feel of this movie is totally fiction. It is enjoyable, oft times hilarious and manages to keep you on your toes until the end. Just as you anticipate this wall of lies to crash all around him a small part of you is convinced he might just pull this off.
The Hoax is rated R for language and falls in just under 2 hours. You might feel it drag a little towards the end but nothing that is hard to get through. As for the language, I am surprised the studio didn’t tone it down to a PG-13. The language is not overly offensive and would not be missed had it been removed. They may find that a smaller audience sees this due to many avoiding R rated films all together. That would be a shame because I think it is one of the better made movies to come out this year and shows an event in the 70’s, Hughes era that is lesser known but highly interesting. I give it 3.5 out of 5. Believe me? With a look at The Hoax, I’m Matt Mungle.
The Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)(04/05/07)
“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and hosts the weekly syndicated Indie Rock Radio Show Spin 180. Plus with his wife Cindy they do a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies. For additional reviews and interview clips visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

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