The movie chronicles the audacious 1970s hoax perpetrated by Clifford Irving involving a supposed autobiography of the famously reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
The Hoax, with a screenplay based on Irving’s own book about the whole affair, juxtaposes the unfolding of Irving’s elaborate…and frankly bold…scheme against the events of the times (the Vietnam War and the protests against same, the Nixon Administration, etc.) to intriguing effect. It also strongly suggests that
I don’t know about that last bit but I do know that at the heart of this movie…which itself is briskly paced, engaging, and witty…is a bravura performance by Richard Gere that captures the charm, the intelligence, the deviousness, the callousness, and, eventually, the paranoid fantasies of Irving. Gere is amazing and so is Alfred Molina, playing Dick Suskind, Irving’s conflicted partner in crime; they play off each other with such fierce chemistry that they make the movie soar.
Clifford Irving is a charming rogue (something testified to by venerated CBS newsman Mike Wallace in one of the DVD’s bonus features) and this movie, however true it is itself (it’s based on Irving’s book so it’s skewed towards romanticizing his actions to some extent), has a real charm of its own.