Heard about Hawn's Hitchcock Homage
If you were to split "Deceived" down into all its little components then you would be impressed by the cinematography, by the acting and even the dialogue. Every single scene is well constructed and paced delivering the desired effect of either emotion, suspense, mistrust and so on. But then when you put them all together in a storyline which drifts constantly to being absurd whilst filling it up with some pure padding "Deceived" ends up being average, almost a Hitchcock homage and mostly an unmemorable thriller mainly notable for Goldie Hawn in a rare serious role.
After being stood up on a blind date Adrienne (Goldie Hawn - Bird on a Wire) meets Jack (John Heard - Home Alone) who she ends up falling for, marrying and having a daughter together making their lives together seemingly perfect. When Jacks starts to act suspiciously Adrienne starts to suspect he is having an affair and after a blazing row Jack leaves only to end up in a fatal car accident. But Adrienne starts to dig around to find out more about her husband's past and discovers that he may have not been the man she thought he was.
Being average "Deceived" ends up being an almost formulaic thriller with little if nothing which is particularly original about it, relying on a big twist but one which is so obvious that much of what comes before the revelation almost feels like padding, such as the opening blind date scene. But whilst the big twist can be predicted director Damian Harris keeps you involved in what is going on and adds to the atmosphere by throwing more twists at you although never ever managing to lead you down a blind alley to shock you with something else.
Part of the problem with "Deceived" is that whilst you follow the storyline major plot holes not so much sneak in but smack you in the face. You question why Adrienne knew so little about her husband's past or why she never became more suspicious over certain discoveries. There are also avenues of story which are left floating, unanswered as if they were meant to be critical to the story but then forgotten about as the writers tried to increase the tension and suspense the longer things progressed.
But whilst "Deceived" suffers from some gaping plot holes, and let's be honest so many thrillers from the early 90s did, it does move along at a decent pace and creates a surprising sense of atmosphere and tension. Damian Harris and his crew have crafted a movie which looks good with several clever camera shots which embellish the story which itself has an almost rhythm to it, a perfect one at that which means although there are scenes which end up as padding you are never far away from something dramatic, a twist or revelation.
There is of course one very notable thing about "Deceived" and that is Goldie Hawn as Adrienne Saunders, a rare venture into a serious role. Now it has to be said in the opening blind date scene it felt very wrong as Adrienne peaks from behind a neighbouring table to spot Jack on his own, it almost has a comedy element with Hawn bordering on that dumb blonde character she does so well. But thankfully get past that opening scene and Hawn delivers a surprisingly good performance as the confused, betrayed wife although it's a cliche character and as such is no different to so many others which filled up these early thrillers from the 90s.
Alongside Goldie Hawn is John Heard as her husband Jack and although Heard does a very good job it is again an almost cliche character and not the most memorable one at that. But together Goldie Hawn and John Heard work well and as a couple who we watch quickly fall in love with and end up in assumed marital bliss it does feel almost natural.
What this all boils down to is that "Deceived" is no more and no less than your average thriller from the early 90s. It follows a formula and as such is quite predictable but it is also well paced and creates those moments of tension and excitement. But it is mostly forgettable in its average ness and really is only memorable for being one of Goldie Hawn's few excursions into playing a serious role rather than a funny one.