7.5/10
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26 user 34 critic

An Honest Liar (2014)

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The life and career of the renowned stage magician turned scientific skeptic of the paranormal, James Randi.
6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Randi ... Himself - Magician
Deyvi Peña Deyvi Peña ... Himself - Artist (as Jose Alvarez)
Penn Jillette ... Himself - Magician (as Penn)
Teller ... Himself - Magician
Jamy Ian Swiss Jamy Ian Swiss ... Himself - Magician & Author
Richard Wiseman Richard Wiseman ... Himself - Magician & Psychologist (as Prof. Richard Wiseman)
Ray Hyman Ray Hyman ... Himself - Experimental Psychologist
Adam Savage ... Himself - Mythbusters
Alice Cooper ... Himself - Rock Star
Banachek Banachek ... Himself - Mentalist (as Steve Shaw)
Alexander Jason Alexander Jason ... Himself - Surveillance Expert (as Alec Jason)
Bill Nye ... Himself - The Science Guy
Michael Shermer Michael Shermer ... Himself - Publisher, Skeptic Magazine
Michael Edwards Michael Edwards ... Himself - Project Alpha Psychic
Uri Geller ... Himself - Purported Psychic
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Storyline

AN HONEST LIAR is a feature documentary about the world-famous magician, escape artist, and world-renowned enemy of deception, James 'The Amazing' Randi. The film brings to life Randi's intricate investigations that publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, and con-artists with quasi-religious fervor. A master deceiver who came out of the closet at the age of 81, Randi created fictional characters, fake psychics, and even turned his partner of 25 years, the artist Jose Alvarez, into a sham guru named Carlos. But when a shocking revelation in Randi's personal life is discovered, it isn't clear whether Randi is still the deceiver - or the deceived. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Spain | Italy | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 2014 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

An Honest Liar: The Amazing Randi Story See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,821, 8 March 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$124,031, 5 April 2015
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV) (2016)

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Uri Geller no longer identifies himself as a psychic, rather a "mystifier". See more »

Quotes

Uri Geller: In entertainment there is a kind of acceptability to deceive, its like when there two Picasso paintings on the wall, one is a fake and the other one is real, but they look the same. There is no harm in that. At the end of the day, there is nothing to reveal, because of what I do is real.
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Crazy Credits

Before the final copyright in the end credits it states, "No spoons were harmed in the making of this film." See more »

Connections

Features Q.E.D.: Bend! Bend! Bend! (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday
(uncredited)
Written by Patty S. Hill & Mildred J. Hill
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User Reviews

 
The Skeptic Inside
17 July 2015 | by tributarystuSee all my reviews

There truly is something mystical about "An Honest Liar", that allows it to transcend its flawed structure and be relevant in spite of it. At its core, the ambition of the film is to establish and walk the line between what constitutes an illusion and what rises to the rank of deception. To achieve this, it takes a good, long look at the life of James Randi, renowned magician and skeptic of things in the paranormal.

Going beyond its overarching ambition, An Honest Liar builds on three parts - Randi's life as an artist, his challenges as a skeptic and his (intertwined) personal travail. The first is as interesting as magic can be, without ever revealing the secret behind tricks - I'm sorry, illusions. But the pace really picks up as the case for skepsis takes shape, trying to untie the blatant lies and manipulation from the willing suspension of critical thought and disbelief. The question of what really constitutes the truth, as expressed through the power of belief, both religious and - ironically - scientific, gets a fair, balanced and creative tackle. Ultimately, Randi's personal life and some surprising insights into the act of deception lying close to its core, becomes a bit of a meta-analysis of the previous two parts.

The problem is that this last segment mostly fails, because it appears very tangential to Randi's quest and shifts the focus on fairly mundane personal matters that are contorted somewhat to fit the wider arch.

Yet, it came easy to me to go beyond it.

Just because the directors' reach exceeded their grasp does not mean that the film doesn't work artistically, as an expression and an experience of boundary blurring between truth and lies. It achieves this by dragging you into taking a stand by the end, in a narratively artificial yet intellectually testing personal battle for Randi, after seventy minutes of case building and creating an emotional connection with the subject. In that, it is fun and relevant, stressing the strength of belief over fact, over truth and the challenges that lie in dealing with it.


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