Previous Review
Next Review
October 12, 2009
Review - " Lies & Illusions "  -  (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
For comments or to submit a movie review for possible inclusion on Delta Films site
please send an email to
Lies and Illusions
Directed by: Tibor Takacs
Starring: Christian Slater, Cuba Gooding Jr., Al Madrigal, Sarah Ann
Schultz, Christa Campbell, Robert Giardina

Best-selling author Wes Wilson's self-help book about honesty has
saved millions of relationships. After ducking out of Wes’s bestseller
party, he and his fiancée, Sam, are attacked in the parking garage.
Wes is knocked senseless, a cop is shot, an elderly couple is
frightened and Sam is abducted. Weeks go by and the only trace of
Sam (Sarah Ann Schultz) that’s found is her car with some of her
blood in it. A year later Wes, (Christian Slater), is just starting to get
back on his feet, including meeting a new girlfriend Nicole, (Christa
Campbell), when odd facts begin to surface about his dead fiancée.
First, there’s Sam’s lawyer who contacts him out of the blue about a
safety deposit box in Spokane and the secret room he finds in the
cellar stockpiled with guns and passports. In order to clear things up,
Wes and Nicole head to Spokane hoping they can find some
answers in the safe deposit box. In Spokane, menacing smuggler
Isaac (Cuba Gooding Jr.) coolly insists that he take a chauffeured
backseat ride, Wilson's charmed life explodes into a world of
violence, espionage and stolen diamonds. As lies and illusions give
way to a harsh reality, Wilson learns shocking truths about two
women in his life.
So that’s the premise. It’s got a neat little
twist built right in. The guy who writes a
bestselling book about being honest in a
relationship ends up engaged to a woman
who has been lying to him from the start.
There’s a good movie in there, you could
take it in any number of directions and
therein lies the problem, they do. The cover
art sets you up for a suspense thriller type of
movie, after the credits roll you’re expecting
some kind of caper movie, the credits at
least are great. One minute the score is dark
and brooding and your thinking suspense
thriller then some upbeat Spanish flavored
song will play and you’re swinging back to
zany caper movie. Often, it even seems like
the actors didn’t know what kind of movie
they were making, during the climatic chase
scene Christian Slater is playing it completely
over the top, while Sarah Ann Schultz is
playing it straight action thriller. It’s really a
shame, if the filmmakers could have zeroed
in on a tone and stuck with it this could have
been at least a good movie.

Slater is good as the befuddled guy who is
overwhelmed and can't straighten out his life.
How could he ever write that best seller? His
agent I think had the funniest lines in the
movie. Then he is involved with two strong
women - one who comes back from the dead
- the other his current flame - turns out to be
an FBI agent. Then there are the catfight
scenes between these women. Someone
should have consulted Eastwood on how to
film fight scenes on a budget. Gooding is
great as the stylish, pampered and ruthless
hood who wants his cache of diamonds.

I'm a fan of Slater & Gooding so I had high
hopes for this film, but this movie is almost a
textbook example of how important tone is. If
the filmmakers could have just settled on
exactly what kind of movie they were making
here, I think this could have been a halfway
decent movie instead of the sloppy mess that
it is. Poorly done fight scenes, terrible hand
held camera work, lousy sound recording,
handguns that never need reloading, a
lousy screenplay, and several
embarrassingly bad performances, are all
highlights of this lackluster excuse for a