On February 17, Apple TV+ presented the thriller about con artists “The Art of Deception” with Julianne Moore and Sebastian Stan in the lead roles. The script of the tape was included in the so-called “Black List” of the best scripts of 2020. In the review below, we consider how successfully it was implemented and whether this film turned out to be tense enough for a thriller.
“The art of deception” / Sharper
Genre crime thriller
Directed by Benjamin Caron
Starring Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith, Brianna Middleton, John Lithgow
Premiere of Apple TV+
Release year 2023
A young man named Tom has his own bookstore. Every day, he can escape from the unbearable hustle and bustle of noisy New York to various fictional worlds that exist only on the pages of numerous books. One day, Tom’s empty bookstore is visited by a pretty student, Sandra, who is looking for a gift for the teacher.
An interesting dialogue begins between young people. It becomes obvious that this is not their last meeting. Gradually, talk of dissertations on African American Feminism in Contemporary Literature and mutual admiration for a first edition copy of Jane Eyre turns into romantic interest. It seems that everything is happening as if in a fairy tale, and both have found their true love.
But later the butterflies in the stomach of the heroes have to give way to a headache, because Sandra’s weak brother owes a large amount of money to some serious uncles. Naive Tom sees no other choice but to withdraw $350,000 from his parents’ account and pay the extortionists. The guy gives money to his beloved and after this broad gesture, she simply disappears.
Upon closer examination of the authors of “The Art of Deception”, it becomes obvious that people who managed to establish themselves first and foremost as creators of serial content worked on it. Screenwriters Alessandro Tanaka and Brian Gatewood are known as authors of mostly comedic projects, and director Benjamin Caron had a hand in such highly successful series as “Sherlock”, “The Crown” and “Andor”.
This time, the former categorically refuse any hints of a comedic component, and the latter is forced to work in the format of a full meter. However, this tape inherited the structure of the story from the series format. The latter is divided into chapters, each of which introduces the viewer to a separate character and better reveals his character and motivation. And at the same time, it raises the stakes and draws even more into the intricacies of plot arcs.
Karon’s creation tells about several ardent highly professional con artists who rely on their own acting skills in their bad deeds. And all this in order to bite off the biggest piece of the pie. But at any moment a hunter can become a victim and vice versa.
“The Art of Deception” can to some extent be classified as a psychological thriller. But the tape is devoid of any deep psychology, because all the actions and behavior of each of the heroes lie on the surface. Therefore, such a genre definition will not be completely correct. Rather, it is an adventure thriller, which does not so much set itself the goal of keeping in suspense, as it tries to constantly fool the viewer. However, he does not always succeed.
The non-linear structure of the story is designed to confuse a little so that further twists have a wow effect. But not all of them work, and some look too predictable. This is especially true of the final act, about which not a word more will be said, so as not to spoil your viewing with spoilers.
If you look at the film as a whole, it looks like a really good and interesting story, well played by great actors and well staged. The level of audience involvement here is noticeably high, because with each subsequent chapter, the viewer learns about some new details.
Thanks to this, the plot not only does not sag and is constantly developing, but also allows you to look at the general story from a different angle. All this means that even the leisurely pace of the story will not allow you to get bored.
Pros: an interesting story, a well-constructed narrative structure, dynamic development of the plot, good attempts by the authors to deceive the audience, a good cast, a high-quality soundtrack by Clint Mansell Cons: predictability of some plot moves, a somewhat vague ending, and there was a strong feeling that with all the available components, it was possible to produce an even more powerful genre product Conclusion:
“The Art of Deception” turns out to be a great option for watching in the evening and clearly demonstrates what people are willing to go to, just to not work