Francesca Annis in Deceit (2000)

De-Nothing Much

When her husband disappears after going out on his yacht alone Ellen Richmond (Francesca Annis) finds herself with more on her plate than just looking after her son. Firstly she finds out that his business was in trouble and had secretly mortgaged their large home without her knowing it, leaving her with financial difficulties to confront. Then there is some missing charity money, a plot of land which a business partner wants to sell, the woman he had an affair with, a detective sniffing around as well as the handsome Richard Moreland (Peter O'Brien) who says he served in the Falklands with Ellen's husband and takes a shine to her.

Seeing that "Deceit" first aired as a two part mini-series in the UK back in 2000 it doesn't surprise me that I can barely find any information on it other than what you can gleam from the credits. And truth be told having spent the 145 minutes it takes to watch it I am even less surprised by the lack of information on it as whilst not a terrible movie it is a forgettably ordinary one which sets up a scenario and proceeds through it in a predictable manner.

Peter O'Brien in Deceit (2000)

For those who are not aware of what I mean these TV movies/ mini series always work on a central mystery, in this case whether or not Ellen's husband is dead or has he faked his death to run off with his mistress and some missing money. Of course if he is dead who did it, was it the on edge Ellen or maybe it was a business partner. But whilst all this is going on we have the less than subtle drama as we have Richard lurking around and whilst part of you wonders whether he may have been involved you also wonder when Ellen is going to fall in to his arms and his bed. It's frustrating because everything about "Deceit" is done in the most ordinary of ways which means it struggles to maintain your interest.

What is very clear is that Francesca Annis is a very good dramatic actress, a thespian and frankly an attractive one. But as Ellen she plays the mother of a 9 year old son and it doesn't feel right despite it not actually being critical to the storyline. In an ideal world they should have rewritten the script to make the son and in truth the teenage daughter older because as it stands it stretched things too far.

What this all boils down to is that "Deceit" ends up an incredibly ordinary movie which never really draws you in or excites you because everything about it is far too typical. In truth the most interesting thing I can say is that 4 years later it was remade as a TV movie shown on the Lifetime channel in America under the same name.