BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JANUARY 14, 2014
If you’ve seen the trailer for “Magic Magic,” then you’ve successfully been duped. Not to say “Magic Magic” isn’t an exceptional thriller with fine performances, but anyone expecting a sinister, psychological thriller where everyone is out to get the leading lady will be sadly mistaken. Juno Temple plays lead Alicia, vacationing from the States to Chile to visit her cousin Sarah (the lovely Emily Browning) and her strange group of friends, which includes a wonderfully dark comedic turn from the talented Michael Cera. Upon arrival, Sarah has to ditch Alicia for school, sending her off, alone, with her friends. Highly relatable, the audience can almost certainly relate with the awkwardness of being left alone with a group of people you barely know and in Alicia’s case of being somewhat socially awkward, to begin with, the tensions are high. Here’s where the bait and switch happens.
[And spoiler alert for anyone wanting to be completely surprised] Instead of Sarah’s friends being sadists like the trailer leads you to believe, Alicia is the afflicted one. Off her meds and insanely paranoid, the film’s darkness comes from its lead, rather than the surrounding characters, which is honestly a nice change of pace. The thrilling nature of the film is brought on by Alicia’s paranoia as she struggles to be alone with this group of people while they hunt birds as a game and hypnotize one another. However, without the director developing a point-of-view to trust or follow, the audience is left flailing through most of the film, wondering where it is going and how we got there when it does arrive. And with a strange and anti-climatic ending to which only the close watcher is privy to, “Magic Magic” is anything but. That being said, I admire both Juno Temple and Michael Cera for carrying the film as well as director Sebastián Silva, who does establish a very eerie tone to the film, despite being fragmented and unsure of itself.
August 16, 2013
(for language, some sexual content and nudity)
Catalina Sandino Moreno