The Hoax Lasse Hallstrom

The Hoax Lasse Hallstrom

The biggest con in The Hoax is that it keeps fooling you into thinking it’s going to be an interesting movie. Though it’s adapted from the novel, based on a book, written by the author who originally created the fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, this film works hard to add unnecessary intrigue to a story that should be able to stand on its own merits. Clifford Irving is a struggling writer with a troubled marriage and serious financial problems. When his latest novel is rejected by his publisher, Irving formulates a cunning plan to fake the official autobiography of Howard Hughes. Using Hughes’s legendary reluctance to communicate with the outside world, Irving perpetrates the most elaborate literary hoax in history. The Hoax is based on a true story, but rather than simply portray the bizarre real-life events this film works hard to fictionalise Clifford Irving’s life, ultimately watering down what could be a unique biopic. Richard Gere does a decent job portraying Irving, the charming con artist, though the few scenes where he assumes the guise of Hughes himself are by far the highlights of his performance. The best thing about The Hoax DVD is the "Mike Wallace: Reflections on a Con” feature where journalist Mike Wallace reminisces about his interview with the real life Clifford Irving in the ’70s prior to the hoax being uncovered. The rest of the extras are the conventional deleted scenes, cast interviews and two audio commentaries. The real story of The Hoax is a strange and interesting one, culminating in one of the biggest literary forgeries of all time. Unfortunately, this film’s stylised intrigue distracts from the truth of the story and leaves the viewer feeling unfulfilled. (Alliance Atlantis)