In `The Hoax,' Richard Gere makes Clifford Irving believable

Film turns '70s literary scam into a delightful study in ego, greed

Review A-

April 06, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

Unmoored charm used to be Richard Gere's calling card. Skating over the razor's edge between seductiveness and smarm was his specialty as a performer even before he really mastered it as an actor and rooted it in a character's needs and impulses. Now that he's become a formidable leading man, that knack is just one tool in his kit.

He's never shown truer colors or a wider spectrum than as that notorious faker Clifford Irving in The Hoax. And for Irving he forges a quality all his own: a serpentine virility. This swift, insightful black frolic tells how, in 1971, Irving, a novelist and nonfiction writer with delusions of literary grandeur, sold his publisher, McGraw-Hill, on the idea that Howard Hughes had authorized this man of letters to interview the mysterious, omnipotent tycoon and compile a Q&A autobiography.

The Hoax (Miramax) Starring Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis, Julie Delpy, Stanley Tucci, Eli Wallach. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Rated R. Time 116 minutes.

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