The Deceivers Reviews
This had the potential to be a great adventure/drama. It had an interesting story revolving around the downfall one of the most ruthless cults in history (The Thugees killed close to 2 million people). It also had some great performances, including Brosnan's portrayal of a British officer who infiltrated the cult's ranks. What went wrong? TV-movie-style direction. Flat compositions, uninspired camera placements and lens choices. It makes all the difference in the world I've come to realize. Director Nicholas Meyer has proved his ability with actors and story in this and his other films, but composition is where he fails. His directing style works for the Star Trek films he's made, which are mostly set on starship bridges and small sets. However, set him out in the wilds of India and he doesn't know how to capture it. Also, could it be the DVD transfer or the film stock they used which makes the picture look so old? It was made in 1988, but has the appearance of a TV movie-of-the-week, circa 1970. This may sound like shallow criticism, but it really detracts from the film's appeal. If it were filmed better, I truly believe it would have impressed audiences of its day more.
If I have a criticism of the film, it is that it starts very well and the centre is taunt stuff, but the telling of last part of the story seems a bit rushed; it gives the impression of having been finished in a hurry against a rapidly diminishing budget.
One day someone will film the excellent sequel book, "Nightrunners of Bengal", but until then you have "The Rising- the Ballad of Mangal Panday"
Trivia: Explains where the word 'thug' comes from.
Great historical yarn, perfect for a snowy day.
Piece Brosnan disguising as a desi.... though 50% of the time his accent is the British one, and people cant figure out what is going on..... there was one scene though, where it did appear that he was trying out the desi accent ......
The story of the Thugs, the serial killing cult in 1850 India who have reportedely killed 2 million people over 300 years, is these days coming under scrutiny as being a fable by the east india company to scare the locals into the need for protection.
All of Saeed Jaffery, Shashi Kapoor and Brosnan are quite good in the film, and there are some interesting twists in the movie as well..... the only dowside is that the pace of the movie is quite slow, which is usually the case with Merchant Ivory films....
The sets are quite elaborate and it gives you the look of a decent budget movie......
I dont agree that there were Muslims in the cult who were also followers of Kali..... I mean, if they were followers of Kali, as a Goddess, then they werent Muslims were they :)