The Hoax is nothing like you’d expect. Sort of like the very definition of the title. Hey! There’s your first clue. They are getting things right.
Lasse Hallstrom, the director, is an optimistic fellow. He has to be. Or so he projects himself as. Armed with a bizarre true story and even ridiculously funny script. The film easily has ten moments, steps in each act of the film that drops your jaw in the air. Now, that is a good script. But I think what Lasse does here is something much smarter and efficient. You’d think that after a while, the shock therapy would grow weary. But where there were supposed to be “mehs” there is perpetually an awe. And his first way in, is through the pace. It moves with a ferocious speed, even at times neglecting characters and their priorities. Lucky for them, they have a great cast and equally great performances in their side, especially Alfred Molina as the “co-author”. There is another major improvement in the film and it is how meticulous it is. You’d think that a film like such, of such genre, that displays time passing by rapidly will rely upon montage sequences and a train of various scenarios whooshing in front of us. And instead we get proper hand picked set pieces driving carelessly in this safe street. Which makes me think about the genre, now. “The comedy” genre of the film is actually a major contributor in the dramatic elements. We get the essence of sketchy scenes. Now, where we draw lines in comic films are completely different then where we would draw in dramatic ones. Lasse pushes back and forth between these genres to make the most absurd plot swallow with delight in our face and the most mundane requirement feel like responsibility. That is what it all comes to, responsibility.