Despite the fact that many modern forms of magic appear to have evolved from simple tricks, like those featured in the Royal Vegas Rabbit in the hat game into ridiculous feats of stupidity or endurance, there is still a rich history of real magical performance and style. Of course magic is always a great concept to delve into and the perfect fodder for movie goers to enjoy as well. Magicians and magic have featured in a number of popular, and not so popular, movies throughout the years each tackling certain aspects of the industry whether it’s going behind the scenes or directly trying to outwit and trick the audience themselves. We take a look at just a few examples of this magical sub-genre.
THE PRESTIGE (2006)
This brilliantly conceived mystery thriller about rival magicians attempting to upstage each other using various techniques of trickery comes from renowned director Christopher Nolan. The two leads played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are terrifically engaging and so is the story which is full of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Each magician uses his own unique skills and talents to try and compete with each other to create the best show stopping final magic trick, the “The Transported Man”.
Comedic double act David Mitchell and Robert Webb have had huge success on British television famed for starring as the loveable odd couple Mark and Jeremy in long-running Channel 4 hit POV sitcom ‘Peep Show’. In 2007 the duo teamed up once more for this crudely cobbled together effort from first time director Andrew O’Connor. Unlike ‘The Prestige’ this rival magician tale was somewhat lacklustre and very disappointing for both magic and ‘Peep Show’ fans alike.
NOW YOU SEE ME (2013)
Mystery crime thriller ‘Now You See Me’ arrived in theatres back in 2013 and it swept in a fresh and more exciting way in which magic could be portrayed in movies. It’s star-studded line-up included Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Isla Fisher all of whom play talented illusionists who find themselves grouped together by a unknown person and are led to create a number of magically based criminal heists. There’s plenty of magic on show in ‘Now You See Me’ as well as some more “creative” magic aspects and many of the most common magical practices around such as escapology, mind-reading, sleight of hand and more are all portrayed in the movie.