Thursday, May 01, 2014
1999 - An Honest Liar
I'm a fan of magic, but I have to admit that I hadn't heard of the Amazing Randi - but let me tell you, he's one of the fascinating and enjoyable people on this planet. I saw this at HotDocs and we were fortunate to have the man in attendance for spirited Q&A and he's delightful through and through.
This film is about the lies that get told and how they can be harmful - the difference between a harmful lie and an honest one meant to entertain. A fine line indeed - and the difference between a conman and a magician is simply the fact that magicians will admit that they're trying to trick and fool you.
I really enjoyed this film for the most part - it's split into chapters that largely involve Randi debunking things that are harmful to people in general. He goes out of his way to mention that everyone can be deceived, and there's no more powerful proof than him being caught up in his own hoax through a series of natural events. And while dramatic and organic to the story, the ending still feels like it doesn't quite fit. It feels tagged on after the fact and not initially part of a larger master plan. I'd be curious to know what was originally planned before life got in the way.
This is a fun piece, and hopefully it's available for all to see sooner rather than later.