In mid-1800s England, Oscar is a young Anglican priest, a misfit and an outcast, but with the soul of an angel. As a boy, even though from a strict Pentecostal family, he felt God told him ... See full summary »
During Harry Houdini's tour of Britain in 1926, the master escapologist enters into a passionate affair with a Scottish psychic. The psychic and her daughter attempt to con Houdini during a highly publicized séance to contact his mother whose death has haunted him for many years. However all does not go to plan...Written by
In the scene when Harry is dressing (shortly after his arrival in his Edinburgh hotel room) he starts to put on his braces (suspenders). In one shot they are partially unfastened but in the next shot (a close-up) they are securely fastened. See more »
[with Scottish accent]
When I was very small, I had a gift. I saw things other folk did nae see. It was like looking into deep water and seein' things on the other side. As I grew up, the gift vanished, just like my mam said it would. And I saw the world as it really was - with all its sweet lies and trickery. The great Houdini came into our lives, and changed everything forever.
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It sounds like a great idea for a film: a Scottish con-woman, with the manners and mannerisms of a Morningnside lady but a heart of cold steel inside, attempts to con the great Harry Houdini. And Catherine Zeta Jones, in the lead female role, does a surprisingly great job in spite of being Welsh. Unfortunately, Guy Pierce manages to make one of the most intriguing figures of his team seem boring with his shallow performance, Timothy Spall (playing Houdini's manager) seems surprisingly ill-at-ease in a role you might have thought he was made for (and struggles throughout with his accent), while role of the con-woman's daughter is written as wholesome where a little malevolence might have spiced up the plot. In fact, this character provides a narration that seems wholly unnecessary., except to cover up the paucity of actual happenings and pad out the film. The story has notes of whimsy (the con artist, in spite of being a successful public entertainer, lives in a bizarrely Arcadian graveyard), but is never quite fanciful enough to work as fantasy; as a realist story, it's duller than it's premise suggests.
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