Thursday, July 16, 2009

Death Defying Acts (2007) R - 3½ Stars

This movie didn't get as good of reviews as I am giving it, but I really loved Saoirse Ronan character as Benji. Though based on a true story, Gillian takes liberties in creating the ending of Houdini's life, for example location. Catherine Zeta-Jones was extremely elegant in her role as the fortune teller and I thought the movie captured the technological innocence of the time period, as well as the beauty of Edinburgh, Scotland.

In the 1920's, Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce), was known as the greatest illusionist to ever deceive a live audience. His obsession with cheating death was closely involved with his obsession to finding proof of the hereafter. He was very close to his mother and never forgave himself for not being by her side during her death. He yearns to find someone that can reveal the last words she spoke, to console himself until their meeting in the afterlife. He posts a $10,000 reward for the person who can grant him access into this after world.

Meanwhile in Edinburgh, Mary McGregor (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and her daughter and sidekick, Benji (Saoirse Ronan), dress as the poor and canvas the streets for clues in front of the auditorium they will preform in later. Ease dropping on conversations and pick pocketing their guests, they use the information to gain the respect of a crowd eager to connect with the past. After the show, the girls return to their humble existence living in a secluded graveyard. Benji is a great Houdini admirer and when she hears of Houdini's offer, and his plans on preforming in Edinburgh, the two decide that's money in the bank. Mary does her research, learning everything she can about his mother, in order to pull off the prize reward. But what no one expects is to find love as they unleash the truth.

Third Rail Releasing
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Writers: Tony Grisoni, Brian Ward
Producers: Chris Curling, Marian MacGowan
I viewed 11/08

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