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The Hoax (15); Rating: 5/10 Publish and be damned.

Byline: Joe Riley

YES, there' there's more to Richard Gere than romantic fluff. Here's a movie he can sink an entire front tooth into, putting fictionalised gloss on the true story of Clifford Irving, a struggling author who almost convinces himself (and the world) that he has penned the true biography of recluse Howard Hughes.

But the truth is a slippery creature, guick to evaporate at the slightest touch.

The challenge almost marks a return to form for Lasse Hallstrom, the Oscar nominated director of My Life As A Dog and What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

The breakthrough for the audience is understanding that every compelling word of the manuscript (and hence the main plot) was an artfully constructed lie. And what joy there is lies in watching the anti-hero sweat blood and tears to continually pull the wool over the eyes of the establishment, side-stepping exposure at the very last second by spinning an even greater web of lies.

Irving stands on the brink of disaster as one of his manuscripts - his masterpiece - is torn to shreds by his editor Andrea Tate (Hope Davis), a woman of few words, most of them sardonic.

Humiliated and frustrated by failure, he returns to his publishers with what he claims will be the publishing sensation of 1971: The Hughes biography, written with the co-operation of the reclusive and eccentric billionaire. He says he has had a series of exclusive interviews in which he has learned the aviation billionaire's innermost thoughts and secrets.

Andrea is thrilled, so too, is her boss Shelton Fisher (Stanley Tucci).

And so begins the mass manufacture of forged correspondence and bogus recorded interviews.

Gere gives a convincing performance, all smarm and charm.

So much so, that we secretly hope that the deception will be successful, yet since Irving's motives are far from altruistic-fame and fortune are his only goals - there's a perverse pleasure watching him go through the emotional wringer.

History loves a risk taker. It loves a failure even more.

CAPTION(S):

LIE TOGETHER: Richard Gere and Julie Delpy in The Hoax; IN DENIAL: Gere as Clifford Irving
COPYRIGHT 2007 MGN Ltd.
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 3, 2007
Words:350
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