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The Hoax

Published April 7, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of Miramax.
The Hoax Poster The Hoax
Has there ever been a movie where Richard Gere did not play Richard Gere? Don't give me that Days of Heaven artsy crap. He's always the smug, cocky scamp with a heart of gold. It's because of that I couldn't shake him from The Hoax.


Movie Review: The Hoax


This is the story of author Clifford Irving, so desperate to be published that he forged correspondences with Howard Hughes and perpetrated a scam on the literary world to the point where his biography of the recluse was actually published. So, Shattered Glass a couple decades earlier.

The difference is, Shattered Glass was a complex story where you identify with the liar, or at least become fascinated with how he can make up stories and get away with it. He was actually good at it. The Hoax just makes publishers look stupid.

There's no point where Irving has a plausible explanation for his discrepancies. Perhaps I'm discounting the phenomenon surrounding Howard Hughes and all of the media buying into his eccentricity. But Irving always seems sleazy and full of sh*t, and his editors knew this about him. He was already a failure. Weren't they at all skeptical that he pulled off the interview of the century?



The film goes through all the motions, showing the pressure build as it gets harder and harder to fake the story. Irving gets his manager (Alfred Molina) involved and he's not nearly as good a liar. That character is sympathetic because he's a victim of Irving's hype, but he's also a grown man who got involved of his own volition so it's not THAT sympathetic.

But really it's impossible to see this as Clifford Irving. It's Richard Gere the cocky lawyer, or the cocky john, or the cocky schizophrenic, or the cocky detective, or the cocky doctor. It's just so Richard Gere, and it's enough already. It's fine when you're doing a Richard Gere movie. I like those well enough. But you can't be Richard Gere in a true story because Richard Gere doesn't really exist.

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Image property of Miramax.
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