Death Defying Acts is a movie I caught a part of on TV one day. It did not look bad especially because it involved Houdini and the guy is pretty interesting to learn about. I knew of course without having seen the whole thing that the movie was mostly fictitious but, hey, movies like these are based on some kind of truths. And how could I pass up an opportunity to see two of the hottest people in Hollywood in the lead roles Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta- Jones? I could not so I watched it and found that the film felt short and was a bit boring.
Famous magician Harry Houdini (Pearce) is on a tour of Britain. For the past few years he has been trying to conduct a scientific experiment to see if the supernatural does really exist and is not fake. He sends out a newsreel letting everyone know that he will be holding auditions of sorts to see if anyone is the real deal. An entertainer at a local theater named Mary McGarvie (Zeta-Jones) has an act with her daughter Benji (Saoirse Ronan) where she claims she can make contact with the dead. What they really do is scope out people, Benji sometimes steals a little something off their person, and Mary goes to the library to check out the papers with details of the dead person. Mary and Benjo hear about Houdini’s challenge and they decide to go for it even though they know they are not the real deal.
Mary pretends to be a maid in the hotel the magician is staying in to get into his room to find out some information about him. Benjo goes to the theater to his dressing but she is caught. Houdini talks to her and gives her tickets to the show. A few days later Mary “auditions” for Houdini and is assigned the challenge he has set. He mostly hires her because of the close resemblance to his mother with whom he is trying to contact since he was very close to her.
The magician and the fake psychic get closer and closer and they lose sight of what they have really come together to do. Benji is the one who wants to stay on target with the whole thing and Houdini’s manager suspects they are phonies. Anyway, Houdini and Mary have an affair and then he leaves.
Not really to brag about. There is only one of the magician’s tricks that are shown and it was the one where he unlocks himself from a water tank.
Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta- Jones were really got together I would love to see them in another film together. I think they looked absolutely fabulous in the 1920s style clothing especially Zeta- Jones she looked gorgeous in several scenes.
Death Defying Acts is an alright movie, I was not terribly impressed. In several reviews I have read the reviewers compare this movie to The Prestige and The Illusionist. I hate to do that because the movies are all so different and I think Death Defying Acts was more about the man and a love story than it was about the magician’s magic tricks while the other two were more about the magic. I think this where the film falls flat and is boring because it is more of a love story. Only sit through the movie if you like Guy Pearce and/or Catherine Zeta- Jones