September 5, 2013 by aoifebrennan
I wrote this last month but forgot to post. Those who have seen the film may agree…
This is a slick, clever production. Unlike other films of its genre (magical, suspense, thriller) it actually lines up all its ducks up in a row. Everything, every single twist is carefully documented and accounted for. There are no loose ends, no unsolved conundrums or messy out takes. This is a smooth as a porn star’s fanny but so why then did it run out of steam before the end?
I am not sure but perhaps its very cleverness proved its undoing. There were so many pointers to the twists, the cleverness, that maybe that wearied the viewer. Or perhaps the many clues, so carefully planted, meant we were able to guess the ending, without fully knowing the actual detail.
There are a lot of surprising moments, but mid film we were expecting them so their surprise was limited. Walk past that wardrobe and someone jumps out. That is scary, but if someone jumps out each time then we lose the fear and are curious instead as to who will jump out next.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I liked the slick feel, the magic portrayed and the humour. There was plenty of humour which worked well.
And I loved the descents into madness when keywords were spoken. Not a spoiler but watch out for the words Bullshit and Freeze. The latter had me laughing so hard after the joke it was embarrassing for my fellow cinema goers. But once I twigged the joke I laughed well into the next scene. It’s very clever, trust me!
It terms of cast, the four illusionists were well played. I would single out Woody Harrelson for particular mention – but why does he remind me of JK Rowling’s Voldermort in this film? Answers on a postcard please.
Michael Cane did his usual solid job of when he wants to buy another villa; a sound performance predicated on his paycheck rather than acting quality. Morgan Freeman was a little too sonorous for my liking too, even Mark Ruffalo’s character honed in on this point at the end; when he pleaded for less theatrical explanations. Sometimes the script writers for actors such as Freeman like the sound of their own words too much.
The one actor that stood out for me was Interpol detective played by Frenchwoman Melanie Laurent, but even she had some dud lines. At one point Ruffalo told her how it was in America and she replied with a quaint but totally off centre French quote about believing in faith. Eh? Off message I think. This was where the story definitely wobbled although such mumbo jumbo was kept to a minimum, thank goodness. The carousel scene left me cold but then I wasn’t watching Harry Potter so suspense of belief, or rather the infection of faith, was not a prerequisite for watching this film.
So, yes I enjoyed the film. There were many fine moments. I quite liked the totally unrelated lock and chain bridge in France although it was too twee for this film, too pat. Maybe that was the problem. At the end of the day, the spell broke before the end, rather as the young choir boy might face the actress. We needed a bishop to carry the suspense to the end but none, sadly, was forthcoming.
Tired of watching films, then read The Cougar Diaries Part I by me – soon! As Part II is nearly here…