lads

IMDb member since September 1999
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    IMDb Member
    21 years

Reviews

Houdini
(1998)

Don't bury Houdini, bury this movie.
The biggest trick the writer/directer pulls on us is to hang this fantasy on one of the century's great showbusiness characters. Houdini, the short, wiry-haired immigrant, who spell-bound audiences with the intensity of his eyes and his haunting intimation of his'powers'; angry, petulant, vain and childish, the man puppy-loved his mother till the day he died, indeed, adolescent is perhaps the word to explain his emotional range; but so thrilling, so charismatic was he, audiences would sit electrified, staring at the theatre curtain for an hour, two hours, while behind it, Houdini was struggling manacles, boxes, milk cans... So far away from any attempt at showing us anything about the real man, and with Jonathon Schaech's bland performance not holding the film together, the writer then doesn't even seem to enjoy the world of vaudeville and illusion very much, but spends more time on the seances and the soap-opera domestics. I'm not angry at this movie because I'm a purist who believes Houdini's life is sacrosanct, but that the man and his life are so fascinating, and so full of episodes revealing and suspenseful, that a fictional version of the story can only fail by comparison.

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