In The System, Derren Brown amazes us by being able to correctly predict the winner of horse races every time. Derren persuades a woman to place increasingly large bets with her own savings based on his picks.
The Gathering was a live stage show performed in a secret location (hidden from the audience). The audience was hand picked by Brown and included psychologists, college students, celebrities, psychics, taxi drivers, and magicians.
A member of the public is given a second chance at life when mentalist Derren Brown makes him realize how important life is by tricking him into believing that a meteor has hit the earth and is now populated by zombies.
Filmed live, this film is an edited version of Brown's live stage show the last one of his most recent tour. I watched it out of curiosity but I have never been totally convinced or won over by him having only seen bits and pieces of his one-off specials. However watching this it is hard to deny that he does have a gift for mixing showmanship with the techniques of hypnotism. Now, if you're like me, then you can't help seeing hypnotism as some sort of working man's club style entertainment where people are made to bark like dogs etc. With Brown though, it is nothing like that and although each part of his act is in essence a stunt, it does come over as being based much more on just the power of suggestion and manipulation of his audience.
The stunts themselves are impressive and, in the case of the glass, difficult to watch, but even as I did I found myself wondering how he did that. Now the best part of the film is the conclusion where Brown plays back a recording of the show that had been shot from the wings. Having just completed his final stunt (which is impressive) he then picks bits from his show where he had dropped in suggestive remarks that I hadn't even picked up on but, hearing them again, you hear him basically saying what is going to happen in his final scene.
Am I totally convinced that no sleight of hand or trickery is involved at any stage of his show? Well, no frankly, but seeing how he does it and getting the "here's how I did it" at the end does make it all the more enjoyable and convincing because it does leave you with very little to say other than agree that he has effectively managed to manipulated the actions of a mass of people just by using the power of suggestion.
Fans will love this but even myself, as a casual viewer and cynic have to admit that it is an enjoyable and mystifying show and that Brown's style and sense of showmanship makes it lively and engaging.
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