The Magician: He Makes the Bodies Disappear

11/15/2010 4:00 AM |

The Magician
Directed by Scott Ryan

“The Magician”—he makes bodies disappear—is Ray Shoesmith (Scott Ryan) a Melbourne hitman who’s decided to document his violent profession via film student and neighbor Massimo “Max” Tutti (Massimiliano Andrighetto). Australian director, writer and star Ryan delivers an eerie performance as an unrelenting killer, whose charisma and disturbing remove provide for a very unpredictable experience. The film’s format enhances this unpredictability, often randomly placing scenes out of sequence.

Strictly relying on Max’s camera, the film comes off amateurish with shaky shots and often dusty lenses—but having a “film student” shoot the “documentary,” Ryan makes the story primarily focused on Ray’s relationship with his friends as well as his drug dealing targets—the terms often becoming interchangeable. His conversations with his targets, as well as Max, allow for a continuous stream of opinions and witticisms (at one point he and Max discuss how much money it would take them to eat shit) that let the audience read deeper into the protagonist and ultimately, yes, relate to him.

The actors’ performances are raw and enticing, which may be a result of some scenes actually being ad-libbed. This adds a tangible, gritty element to Max’s documentary, giving the film itself a more realistic feel.

Despite the film’s successful lo-fi approach, only one question remains unanswered: Why Max filmed Ray in the first place, and why wasn’t he fased by Ray’s multiple murders? Perhaps he understood that if he spoke out, he would disappear as well.

Now playing at the Quad Cinema