Richard Attenborough's Magic (1978) is an exceptional work of cinema that has so much to offer to the viewer at different levels. It features Anthony Hopkins in the role of a shy ventriloquist named Corky Withers. Corky's act in which he uses a dummy to perform on-stage magic tricks is an instant success. Corky is at height of his fame and probably a single step away from becoming an icon. But, things are not as simple as they appear. Believe it or not, but Corky's dummy Fats has developed a mind of its own! And Corky must learn to control it before it's too late.
Anthony Hopkins, I daresay, delivers the best performance of his life. The role of Hannibal Lecter may have elevated Hopkins to apotheosis but Corky has a sense of vulnerability that makes it appear far more realistic than Lecter. A comparison between Lecter and Corky is inevitable for both the characters lie on the brink of insanity... while the former can control it to a great extent the latter is always at the mercy of his vicious alterego. Magic (1978) is a psychological thriller of the highest quality. And Hopkins' sublime portrayal makes it an experience of a lifetime. Ann-Margret is brilliant in the role of Peggy Ann Snow. Burgess Meredith as Ben Greene virtually steals every scene that he is a part of.
Magic (1978) is indeed magical. And the dream-like combination of two great Englishmen, Richard Attenborough and Anthony Hopkins, makes it possible. A necessary watch!
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