Wednesday 21 March 2018

Film review: Magic Magic misses a trick

Magic Magic (15A, general release, 98 minutes) Director: Sebastian Silva. Stars: Juno Temple, Emily Browning, Michael Cera, Catalina Sandino Moreno. ***

One of the odder films I've seen for a while, Sebastian Silva's Magic Magic features a really extraordinary performance from rising star Juno Temple. She is Alicia, an awkward young Californian who travels to Santiago to join her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning) on a holiday in the wilds of southern Chile.

With them go Sarah's boyfriend Agustín (Agustín Silva), and his friends Barbara (Catalina Sandrino Moreno) and Brink (Michael Cera). But when Sarah returns to Santiago for an exam, Alicia must travel on with these comparative strangers. And when they arrive on a remote island, her grip on reality begins to unravel.

Magic Magic is a study of mental illness, I suppose, but also draws in elements of horror and suspense. Juno Temple is very good as the unfortunate Alicia, who has a real talent for getting the wrong end of the stick.

Her tormenter-in-chief as she slides into a breakdown is Michael Cera's Brink, a mouthy but essentially harmless idiot who doesn't realise just how vulnerable Alicia is until it's too late.

Sebastian Silva's film is well made and modestly entertaining, but in the end is neither perceptive enough to be art house nor scary enough to become a proper horror film.

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