Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Magic Magic (2013): A Shattered Sense Of Reality

~Review by Marie Robinson

Horror is a very welcoming genre—almost greedy. In horror we like to accept a very broad spectrum of sub-genres. But what do you call a film that couldn’t be considered just a stark horror film, is heavily psychological - but isn’t necessarily thrilling… I could call this film a psychological drama, but that doesn’t sound right, either. Let’s just call it Magic Magic.

Chilean director Sebastian Silva has only been making films for a few years, but from what I have seen I have gathered a heavy indie vibe to his flicks, almost comparable to Diablo Cody. Another trait I can compare in these two is actor Michael Cera.

Michael Cera is known for his oddball, deadpan comedic roles and while he certainly maintains that in Magic Magic, this is the darkest performance I have to see him in.

It takes place in Silva’s homeland of Chile, where Alicia (Juno Temple, Killer Joe) is visiting her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning, Suckerpunch, The Uninvited), an American exchange student. The two cousins are supposed to accompany Sarah’s strange group of friends to a secluded country home for a holiday but Sarah dips out last minute under some suspicious pretenses related to school. So Alicia is left alone with three complete strangers. And when I say strange, I mean it.

Alicia is particularly perturbed by Cera’s character, Brink, who likes to push his boundaries around the young girl. The stress of being in a foreign country, basically alone, and other unseen elements in Alicia’s mind begin to unravel her, and it becomes difficult to determine what is a threat, what is real, and what is not.

I was immediately intrigued by the trailer, which puts emphasis on Michael Cera’s character who is, indeed, incredibly chilling. His unsettling performance was certainly the best, which isn’t necessarily surprising given that he is the most acclaimed actor in the humble cast, but it is always nice to see an actor doing something different and proving that they are malleable to roles.

Juno Temple, who I’ve seen only in Atonement, did a wonderful job acting the difficult and unconventional role she is given. Although the audience does have some sense of dramatic irony, one feels that they are right alongside Alicia in her uneasiness, which quickly becomes panic.

This film is bizarre and had a slow, droning pace, but it is really quite unique. There isn’t much action and the climax is fairly muted, but you can tell that there was meticulous care put into the film making. And that is precisely what I loved about Magic Magic—the details. They are small and hard to catch, but when you do they are fantastic. It’s in the sound, the script, the acting and the cinematography. I wish I could tell you specifics but then it would ruin the fun of you seeking them out and would perhaps prevent you from paying attention, and this film deserves all of it!

As for the title, the most obvious explanation for it is the unusual climax of the film… which you will have to see for yourself!
Magic Magic is now on DVD!

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Can't wait to watch this. I am constantly checking your reviews for my next movie line up. Thanks!