This film was originally released under the title of “Ruby Cairo.” When it did not do well at the box office, it was re-released with its new name “Deception,” which attracted more followers. Its first-rate actors managed to pull out an interesting film despite its poor plot and script. It makes for a great travelogue since the tale was filmed on location in several cities, including Athens, Berlin, Veracruz, Cairo, and Los Angeles. There are some breathtaking scenes that were filmed in these bustling cities where life is far different than what we are accustomed to in the United States. Andie MacDowell’s wardrobe, which features the sort of dress found in those foreign municipalities, was wonderful to observe, and she uses her expertise and persona to show the clothes off to their best advantage.
The film makes a point from the beginning that baseball cards will play a significant role in what is presented. Johnny Faro is shown as the14-year-old boy who caught a winning home run ball as it soared over the fence in the 1960 World Series between the Pirates and the Yankees. The player who hit the ball was Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a true story. Johnny became a life-long baseball fan who collected baseball cards which gained monetary value over time.
Andie MacDowell - Wikimedia
The next time we meet Johnny Faro (Viggo Mortensen), he had just proposed to his girlfriend Bessie (Andie MacDowell), who was totally enamored with her new fiancé. Johnny owned a business called Faro Aircraft Salvage. Their marriage produced two small children and Johnny provided for them very well; that is, until his plane crashed in Mexico and left his family without his support. His body was burned beyond recognition. Having no time to grieve, Bessie learned that Johnny’s business had stacks of unpaid bills of which she had been unaware. She also learned that Johnny had been sending huge amounts of money to bank accounts all over the world.
Johnny’s Plane Crashed
One of the bank accounts was in Veracruz where Johnny’s plane had crashed. Bessie left her two children in the care of a friend and ventured off to Veracruz to access the money. She was denied access there because she did not have the right documentation. This is where the story asks you to suspend your disbelief. Bessie came across several baseball cards which Johnny used to code his horse racing picks, and when deciphered, led to banks throughout the world where Johnny had stashed his money. She realized that the bank account was placed in the name of a retired baseball player named Onix Conception. She returned to the bank and was able to withdraw the funds.
Viggo Mortensen - Wikimedia
Bessie Meets Dr. Fergus Lamb
It was in Veracruz that Bessie met Dr. Fergus Lamb (Liam Neeson) who helped her to find a proper hotel for her stay. Dr. Lamb headed up an organization named Feed the World Foundation whereby he provided shipments of grain to poor countries which were in desperate need of help.
Bessie’s next stop was at a bank in Panama where she decoded the baseball card of Manny Sanguillen to successfully withdraw more funds of Johnny’s. Visits to banks in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands proved successful also. In total, Bessie accessed $849,650 when she produced the correct baseball player’s name, along with her power of attorney to release the funds.
Berlin Bank Showed Recent Withdrawals
When Bessie went to Berlin to withdraw funds from the bank, there were only 750 marks left in the account. Several checks had been written in the past week, withdrawing most of the money before Bessie could make the withdrawal herself. There were checks for 34,000 marks, 25,000 marks, and 15,000 marks, made out to a business which manufactured ink for ballpoint pens.
Bill Mazeroski - Pittsburgh Pirates Wikimedia
A Significant Baseball Card
Next on Bessie’s list was a bank in Athens, Greece where she learned that Johnny’s account had already been closed. She was taken to a safe deposit box which contained only a Bill Mazeroski card. At this point, Bessie came to the conclusion that Johnny was still alive, although she had been to his burial. When the teller saw how disturbed Bessie was, she informed her that a local shipping company cashed out some of Johnny's money and that the rest of it was wired to Cairo.
Bessie Heads to Cairo
Bessie researched the Kolatos Shipping Company and learned that a boat was headed to Cairo with a shipment of grain for a food aid company. She took the same boat to Egypt. She secretly found the bags of grain, opened one, and found that there were bottles of Thionyl Chloride manufactured by EDK Technik.
Bessie Meets Fergus Lamb Again
She came upon Fergus Lamb in Egypt and told him about what she had found. He was furious because Thionyl Chloride is used to manufacture chemical weapons. He spoke to his manager who apologized for shipping the chemical secretly. It was the only way they were able to stay financially secure with their project. Fergus and Bessie were attracted to each other, but Bessie was determined to locate Johnny whom she believed was still alive. She explained to Fergus that she fell deeply in love with Johnny when they were young, and he called her “Ruby Cairo” since they met in Cairo, Kentucky. The engagement ring he gave her turned her finger green. In the film, the soundtrack played the song “You Belong to Me” by Patsy Cline. That is the way Johnny always treated her.
Liam Neeson - Wikimedia Photo by Georges Biard
Bessie became aware of two men, both named Hermes, who had been following her since she left Germany. She spoke to a female immigration inspector and told her she needed to locate a man named Bill Mazeroski who might be in Cairo. The inspector directed her to a young female student, Miss Hakim, who needed money for her college tuition. Bessie was willing to pay her if she could find Bill Mazeroski.
Bessie Locates Her Husband
Shortly thereafter, the immigration inspector knocked on her hotel room and told her that Miss Hakim had located Mazeroski. She ushered Bessie through the streets of Cairo after insisting that she must cover her head and face and not look at anyone. When she spotted him, she called him Bill Mazeroski. He did not recognize her immediately. He was shocked that she had found him in Cairo. He took her to his beautiful home.
It would be unfair to tell the ending. I will say only that the movie gripped me throughout, even though the premise was so far-fetched. The talented actors did a tremendous job of salvaging the poor plot and script. That is why they are A-List actors.