Magicians Cover Isn't magic just... err... magic? Just in the way that things in this profession can be chopped, folded, and torn, only for the said same things to be connected, un-folded, and repaired again by alternate means. It's as though this form of entertainment comes straight from up above, huh? Unlike this film Directed by Andrew O'Connor; and Starring: David Mitchell, Robert Webb, and Jessica Hynes. It was made in 2007, and lasts for 90-minutes.


It's been four long years since double act, Harry and Karl (David Mitchell and Robert Webb), performed magic together on stage. It's also been four long years since Harry caught Karl in a very compromising position with his wife / lovely assistant, whilst naked in a box. And it's been four long years since Harry accidentally cut his wife's head off during a guillotine act too.


Still, what do you think brings these two disgruntled magicians back together again after all this time apart? 'The Shield' competition perhaps? 

Well... yes and no really.

You see, although they both agree to take part in this contest as a pair - alas - once they have been accepted into this 'game of chance', they both have a falling out, and then decide to go it on their own.

OK, so when I say 'own', Karl does get some coaching from his demanding manager, Otto Johnson (Darren Boyd), in perfecting a new 'mind reading' ploy. Moreover, he also gets some additional encouragement from a new girl-pal of his, Dani (Andrea Riseborough), as well. Whereas Harry on the other hand hires' his old-work-college, Linda (Jessica Hynes), to be his new assistant, who does seem rather over-eager in accompanying him in his performance.

But wait a minute! Does Linda know that Harry chopped his dearly departed bitch of a wife's head off? No, not until Karl lets this slip she doesn't. Plus when Harry hears that she has heard, and goes to her room to explain why he hasn't told her, she isn't there.


So what does he do? Travel all the way back to where she lives just to give her his side of the story? Yes. Thought he nether have bothered really. She only changed rooms you see, and her phone ran out of batteries, which was why he could not contact her telephonically.

Stupid thing to do, huh? Stupid like when Harry and Karl individually have a strained argument with their prospective partners, Linda and Danni, due to 'feelings' and 'ethics' respectively.

Ha! I suppose that is why what next transpires all seems to come to a head on stage. As mind-tricks take a fall - assistants have a bawl - lovers resist a fight - and magicians finally unite.

Wow! What a really refreshing film! Well, when I first heard that Mitchell and Webb were both going to make this movie together, I wasn't very sure if it would work as a feature length extravaganza or not. I'm just used to them being on the television you see, clowning around in that alternate way of theirs, and doing what they do best - piss about. However, I have to say that 'Magicians' was a right turn up for the books all in all, because it was cleanly executed, it told a tale, and it was very funny to boot. 

David in Magicians

Here, check out some of these fact relating to this film and its cast:  (1) In 2009 Robert Webb won the Comic Relief charity series 'Let's Dance', parodying the audition sequence from the film 'Flashdance'. (2) To date, this is the only film that Andrew O'Connor has directed. Although he has produced many show's for television. (3) This film was based on the Christopher Nolan film 'The Prestige' [click here for review]. (4) Not only was Jessica Hynes born in the same borough as me, Lewisham, South London, but she also worked with Simon Pegg in the sit-com 'Spaced' [click here to check out Simon's film section]. (5) The word 'magic' derives from the Greek word 'magika', meaning 'unorthodox'. Plus the Persian word 'madosh', meaning 'priest'. (6) David Mitchell's parents were both hotel managers in Salisbury. (7) There were a number of real magician's in this movie. Scott Penrose was the consultant, and there were cameos' by Aladdin, Ali Bongo, and Patrick Page. (7) Robert Webb was a member of the Cambridge Footlights prior to David, which is where he met him on a production of 'Cinderella'. And (8) Mitchell and Webb starred together on television shows 'Peep Show', and 'That Mitchell and Webb Look'.

Magicians Film Poster

OK, so why did I enjoy 'Magicians' so much then? Was it due to my prior knowledge of the casts work? Yes, that does play a factor in the scheme of things, as well as: (1) As stated in the FAQ, this movie is a satire on the film 'The Prestige'. But instead of it just relying on 'in-jokes' and 'associative history' with this picture, it also does its 'own thing' where style, plot, and the overall character is concerned. (2) The whole cast really do what they do best in this flick. David does that mumbling stuttering thing he does. Robert does that aloof bumbling thing he does. Jessica plays horny and bold very well. Darren has that authoritative yet alternate vibe to him. The same can also be said about Andrea too -- except lose the authoritative. Plus a notable mention should go out to Steve Edge and Rasmus Hardiker, because I would have loved to have seen more of their strange father and son antics. (3) I just love magic as a form of entertainment, and I really did get a buzz from seeing all of the magical inserts throughout this movie. Very revealing and funny.

Web in Magicians

Overall this was a very fine British made flick. The case were great. The story was expansive yet personal. And by in large it was a very funny movie. Oh! Except for that groan worthy 'interlude' were David's character flew off to London, as it did not really go anywhere, so to speak. Still, apart from that, this movie is just maaaa... no... best not end it on a pun, huh?
THE RATING: A-bracadabra

MAGICIANS MAGICIANS Reviewed by David Andrews on July 11, 2012 Rating: 5
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