New York reporter Rebecca Scott (Emmanuelle Vaugier) is shattered at the news of her husband's death in a car accident, burnt beyond recognition. But FBI Agent John Nelson (Cuba Gooding Jr) turns up with the news that his body has in fact been found, murder is suspected, and he had lived a double life, as Dennis Archer (Ty Hungerford) on the Gold Coast of Australia, suspected of links to notorious white collar criminal Ronald Osterberg (Chris Betts). Rebecca flies out to join Nelson on the Gold Coast in a hunt for the truth - and discovers that Archer had been stealing from Osterberg, but millions are missing. And they realise that they are being targeted by a shadowy figure ...
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A solid genre script by Kraig Wenman is efficiently realised in the masterly genre-loving hands of Aussie director Brian Trenchard Smith. The story is set on Australia's Gold Coast, offering plenty of eye candy between the moments of drama as a young widow sets out to discover how her dead husband - believed burnt to death - is now murdered ... in front of an FBI Agent, no less.
The intriguing set-up hooks us nicely and Emmanuelle Vaugier is excellent as Rebecca. She looks great but above all, she is totally credible as the headstrong New York reporter with an investigative streak. She matches the low key power of Cuba Gooding Jr, whose effortless characterisation as the FBI agent (international operations) is full of authenticity; he doesn't rely on clichés.
Notable is the top notch craftwork, from cinematographer Dan Macarthur to Asim Nuraney's editing and genre-specific score by Michael Richard Plowman.
With Gooding Jr's marquee value (still intact) and Vaugier's great look, the film should find an audience in the gap between the blockbusters and arty fare.
Review by Louise Keller:
Sanctuary Cove is the attractive setting for this enjoyable thriller in which Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jnr plays an FBI agent chasing an ocker tycoon accused of embezzling millions. Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, best known for his cult exploitation movies, this is good, non-demanding entertainment that delivers on its promise of action, tension, humour and a touch of romance.
The plot and two main characters are established in the first few scenes, starting with a dramatic shooting on the Gold Coast in which Gooding Jnr's FBI agent John Nelson is in pursuit of a man in distress. In New York at Spyglass magazine, we meet Emmanuelle Vaugier's hot-shot journalist Rebecca Scott, who shows that she has no compunctions when it comes to chasing a story. But it is not just a story of corruption that brings Rebecca to Sanctuary Cove, there is a compelling personal element: the husband she believed to have been killed in a car crash two years earlier has only just died, and had been living a double life in Australia.
There's good chemistry between Gooding Jnr and Vaugier, their characters having an easy rapport, joking and jiving, after John initially tries to discourage Rebecca's investigations. When she says she would make a good detective and can take of herself, she is on the mark: she can pick locks, carries a password retrieval unit, capsicum spray and thinks on her feet. Rebecca and John find they have plenty in common, including never following the rules.
There is a luxury yacht, a trophy wife in a minimalist modern mansion and embezzled millions. Chris Betts plays Ronald Osterberg, the obnoxious tycoon who buys people; Evert McQueen is the local cop protecting his beat and Ty Hungerford is the duplicitous Archer. Trenchard-Smith manages to build good tension with noises in the night, bad dreams and an edge-of-seat car chase in which Rebecca is pursued by a man in a white ute. The locations are glamorous with much of the action taking place at the gorgeous Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove resort. The Gold Coast sunshine, skyscrapers and beaches are shown to great advantage. As for that notion that money makes a man's moral compass go haywire... there is a moment in which you will be able to assess for yourself what you would do in the circumstances.
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ABSOLUTE DECEPTION (M)
CAST: Cuba Gooding Jr, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Evert McQueen, Ty Hungerford, Vhris Betts, Jeff Gannon, Brad McMurray
PRODUCER: Dale Bradley, Grant Bradley, Kirk Shaw
DIRECTOR: Brian Trenchard Smith
SCRIPT: Kraig Wenman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dan Macarthur
EDITOR: Asim Nuraney
MUSIC: Michael Richard Plowman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Glenn T (art direction)
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IFM/Filmways
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Nerang, Gold Coast: August 29; NSW, Vic, SA, September 5 2013