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
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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Before the final copyright in the end credits it states, "No spoons were harmed in the making of this film." See more »
"An Honest Liar" (2014 release; 95 min.) is a documentary about the life and works of James "The Amazing" Randi, a magician and escape artist along the lines of the infamous Houdini. Like Houdini, Randi later becomes a fierce opponent/prosecutor of those who lie to and manipulate the public for personal and monetary gain (such as the so-called faith healers and those who proclaim to channel the dead).
Couple of comments: this documentary is co-directed by Tyler Measom (previously of "Sons of Perdition") and Justin Weinsteiny (previously of "Being Elmo"). In the early part of this documentary, we get an introduction as to Randi's background. Let me admit upfront that I had never heard of him. He left school at age 17 after having seen a magician's show in Toronto, deciding that he wanted to become "the next Houdini". By all means, Randi built a fabulous career (there are multiple clips from the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson). But things get a lot more interesting of course, once Randi decides (in the 1980s) to devote his efforts to exposing the cheaters and manipulators. The expose on self-proclaimed faith healer Peter Popoff is nothing short of brilliant (and stunning). "We're fighting the fakers", exclaims Randi. Towards the end of the documentary, when we get a taste of Randi's current personal life, there are a couple of further twists which I did not see coming.
"An Honest Liar" recently opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I finally had a chance to see it on its second weekend. The early evening screening where I saw this at was quite well attended, somewhat to my surprise. In the end, I found "An Honest Liar" an okay documentary, but not as compelling as certain other recent documentaries like "Finding Vivian Maier", just to name that one. Still, if you are into documentaries, "An Honest Liar" is worth checking out, be it in the theater, or eventually on Amazon Instant Video or DVD/Blu-ray.
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