Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
/Film’s David Chen has said that half of his top ten list this year will probably be populated by documentaries. There have been some real fantastic documentary films in 2016, and I want to add a new one to your to-do list. It is called Magicians: Life in the Impossible. Yes, the title is so horribly generic that if you search “magicians movie” on Google, the film doesn’t even show up on the first page of results, but please don’t let that scare you away.
Magicians: Life in the Impossible Trailer
Magicians: Life in the Impossible is not about the art of magic, but about the life of a professional magician. Any performance art career is a struggle, but while acting employs 40,000 people professionally in the United States, magic employs less than 1% as many people. To dedicate your life to this profession means that it must be something you truly love.
Of course, we see this from a variety of angles: an aging magician past his prime now forced to work restaurant table-to-table gigs and dealing with the breakup of his marriage (to his long-time on-stage assistant/partner). We follow an up-and-comer who hopes to book his first magic TV show, an immigrant who has just made it with his big stage show on the Las Vegas Strip, and more. All of the subjects are interesting and layered. Their stories are honest, vulnerable, heartwarming, hilarious, relatable and sometimes sad.
The cinematography captures the magic of the art form, presented in juxtaposition against the grit of the real lives of these struggling working performers. The film pulls no punches and doesn’t present this world through rose-tinted glasses. The magician community is usually very guarded, frequently to its own detriment. By filming this documentary over the course of five years, the directors Christoph Baaden and Marcie Hume were able to establish an intimacy with the subjects and really get an honest look at their world, while obtaining some dramatic and compelling moments.
I saw the film at its Hollywood premiere earlier this week, but the film is now available for you to buy/rent on VOD via iTunes and AppleTV. So if you’re looking for a great movie to watch over the weekend or the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, please note this recommendation. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Earlier this year I chronicled the 15 best magic movies of all time. Had I seen it by then, Magicians: Life in the Impossible would have ranked somewhere near the top of the list for sure.
If I have any complaint about the film, it is that it doesn’t conclude with updates on the magicians followed in the movie. And probably for good reason. I suggest you bookmark this page in a browser tab and click that link only after you’ve watched the film to get a rather dramatic update on one of the subjects.
/Film Rating: 8.5 out of 10Cool Posts From Around the Web: