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The Magician - Ben Walker, Massimiliano Andrighetto, Scott Ryan

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

I promise to use the least amount of violence necessary.

Melbourne assassin Ray Shoesmith (Scott Ryan) likes to debate with his victims such questions as Wayne Carey's moral culpability or whether or not Clint Eastwood appeared in The Dirty Dozen. we know this because he's being filmed by a documentary team, the footage to be released à la Pauline Hanson in the event of his early death. While this may sound a familiar scenario, actor-writer-star Scott Ryan has a gift for the Aussie vernacular that makes his remarkable début, made without funding dollars, closer to Chopper than Reservoir Dogs or Man bites dog, this is destined for long-term cult status.

Persons of interest

  • Scott Ryan .... Ray Shoesmith
  • Ben Walker .... Tony Rickards
  • Massimiliano Andrighetto .... Max "Massimo" Totti
  • Nathaniel Lindsay .... Edna
  • Kane Mason .... Benny
  • Ben Walker .... Tony Rickards
  • Scott Ryan .... Screenwriter
  • Scott Ryan .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Heh, heh. The Magician is very well written, with just the right touches of humour, cynicism and mayhem. As a (fake) documentary it has all the right touches: occasional jiggly camera work, natural lighting, disjointed voices asking questions. As a crime film it has a great grittiness that places the action down around the seamy side of Melbourne's underbelly. As a comedy it has a wickedly light touch. As a thriller it has a quietly disturbing quality I haven't seen since Lost things.

Scott Ryan's performance as the blithely immoral Ray Shoesmith is spot on. You can see the years spent on the dole, the smack addiction, the petty crime, the stints in prison. He has none of the slickness of samuel L Jackson's Jules (Pulp fiction) and none of the sophistication of Jean Reno's Leon (The professional): he's just a Little Aussie Battler™ trying to fly under the radar (see also Silent Partner). I love that quality in Australian movies.

In the end, though, it's The Magician's willingness to take the piss out of itself as well as its subject matter that makes it a film worth seeing. It's bleak, it's black, it's bloody good.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen 16:9
  • Special features:
    • Trailers: Upcoming releases

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Infrequent strong violence, coarse language)

Surveillance time

85 minutes (1:25 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 29 September 2005
DVD rental: 29 March 2006
VHS rental: 29 March 2006

Cinema surveillance images

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