Striving for world-weary criminal sophistication but lacks the polish to deliver it, SOFT DECEIT at least offers the secondary pleasure of rabid cynicism about sex, organized religion, and law enforcement that is more arresting than any of its contrived plot.
Despite a foolproof plan, master thief Adam Trent (Patrick Bergin) is arrested soon after robbing $6 million from a diocesan bank vault. However, church officials are less interested in seeing him imprisoned than they are in recovering the cash (which, it is implied, they were laundering for the
mob). In the aftermath of a crumbled love affair, detectives John Hobart (John Wesley Shipp) and Ann Fowler (Kate Vernon) reluctantly reteam to trick Trent out of the still-hidden money. Fowler goes undercover to lure Trent into a police-engineered prison break, in the hopes that he will then lead
her to the loot. But she falls in lust with Trent, making it easy for him to ditch her and his partners and get away alone with the Church's money.
Taking the heat for this fiasco, career-compromised Fowler is shocked when Trent turns up on her doorstep and proposes a split. Fowler assures her superiors that she can reel in the perp and the dough. After securing a faked passport for him, Fowler accompanies Trent to the airport. By the time
John and his re-enforcements arrive, Fowler realizes the flight to Rio took off without her. Crestfallen because she's sacrificed everything, Fowler quickly learns that a church official in cahoots with Trent went flying down to Rio. Her loverboy crook never boarded the plane. Having severed her
ties to honor, Fowler can now retire with Trent and a sizable nest egg.
The biggest problem with SOFT DECEIT is that it touches on issues of corruption in the Church and police but never develops them. As written and performed, vacillating Fowler is a fence-straddling cipher; there's no sense of how sexual bliss with Trent could jar her priorities. The film doesn't
even throw in the sop of financial pressure to tempt Fowler astray. What remains is a caper that's divertingly ingenious but never emotionally involving. On the other hand, those with little respect for policeman or priests may enjoy the film's what's-in-it-for-me nihilism. (Extensive nudity,extreme profanity, violence, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Striving for world-weary criminal sophistication but lacks the polish to deliver it, SOFT DECEIT at least offers the secondary pleasure of rabid cynicism about sex, organized religion, and law enforcement that is more arresting than any of its contrived pl… (more)