Showing posts with label Sebastian Silva. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sebastian Silva. Show all posts

18 July 2013

Magic Magic EIFF Review 2

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Rating:
15
Release Date:
25th June 2013 (EIFF)
Director:
Sebastian Silva
Stars:
Juno Temple, Emily Browning , Michael Cera

Tonally speaking Magic Magic hits the nail on the head, achieving from start to finish the truly disconcerting vibe of an oncoming storm. From the word go, things seem to be piling up against Juno Temple’s Alicia, a girl so wrought with anxiety and despair it’s a wonder she was allowed to travel on her own in the first place. It doesn't help that Sarah (Emily Browning) the friend Alicia travels to Chile to visit, has to abandon her for mysterious reasons with her Chilean friends on a lonely island.

When considering psychosis and exotic locations, things never really pan out. The Beach, Lord of the Flies, automatically the situation seems doomed. Mortality and youth, compulsion and human nature seem at the heart of the film, but aren't explored in any particular depth to maximize the impact of the film. This is a film which attempts to show how misunderstandings and over-dramatic, anxious minds can turn even the most innocent actions into purposeful attacks on personal peace. However it’s still a basic attempt at putting across a basically dull story.

                Under all the crossed wires, misunderstood moments, and exaggerated pains, the most unnerving aspect of Magic Magic is how it puts across genuine insanity; Temple does a wonderful job of letting her stability slip away in a way that is understandable yet entirely infuriating. Her unadventurous and cowardly nature are so convincing you’ll pity her more than anything, until she gets a little too kooky.  Special mention goes to Michael Cera’s near-demonic Brink, a creation so utterly loathable you can barely keep yourself from shouting at the screen. He’s prankster, manipulator and quietly closeted to a degree that’s just over the “bromance” line. Together Temple and Cera forge a screen relationship built on unspoken hatred that charges through sinister mannerisms, bird violence, and a different kind of oral rape to what you may have in mind.

Apart from performance and a gloomy aesthetic, not much else can push this slow-burning pscho-thriller into any exceptional ground, even a slap dash race for the voodoo vote. It hits the notes you expect and maintains a level head throughout bar a few brave moments where it musters the courage to show how much an insomniac and a compulsive fool can mess with each other.

★★☆☆☆

Scott Clark


4 July 2013

EIFF 2013 – Magic Magic Review

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Rating:
15
Release Date:
25th June 2013 (EIFF)
Director:
Sebastian Silva
Stars:
Juno Temple, Emily Browning , Michael Cera


Sebastian Silva's Magic Magic is perhaps one of the more enigmatic features of this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival, so enigmatic in fact, that many viewers may be left rather unfulfilled by this South American head trip.

Magic Magic follows timid Alicia (Juno Temple), who is sent on vacation to Chile with her friend Sarah (Emily Browning). However after being introduced to Sarah's friends and becoming an object of ridicule by one of them (Brink played by Michael Cera), Alicia's anxiety begins to takeover and she starts to mentally unravel.

Silva's feature is a slow-building one, opening with Alicia's arrival in Chile and her first meeting with Sarah's friends which immediately crafts an aura of uneasiness. When travelling to their lodgings, Silva soundtracks  the group's journey with growling classic blues music and unnerving dog yelping when they pick up then subsequently abandon an ill puppy. This immediately gives an indicator of the frantic, chaotic style that Magic Magic builds towards. However, the main source of this unease is Michael Cera's darkly camp performance as Brink - his actions around Alicia always seem somewhat sinister with suggestions of ulterior, darker motivations.

Silva continues to suspensefully build this unease when the group arrive at their destination - a Chilean beach house. Here Alicia is pressured into diving, attacked by a dog, hypnotised, and comes face to face with (thoroughly underdeveloped) suggestions of voodoo - all leading to her mental breakdown. However, Magic Magic  does seem to lack a clear narrative direction - Silva's feature has a tendency to loosely drift from one sequence to the next - lacking in any solid thrills or anything disturbing enough to merit Alicia's breakdown.  This is best showcased in the conclusion which uses these underdeveloped voodoo elements in a confusing, frenzied and chaotic style.

Juno Temple provides a mentally stripped back performance that feels so authentic  that it proves a challenge to watch at many points.  This can be seen in her encounters with Brink who appears to manipulate Alicia's fragile state for his own pleasure.

This tendency to drift and lack of clear narrative drive - not to mention the lack of a solid conclusion, may make Magic Magic frustrating for many viewers. However, if willing to embrace the unnerving, drifting style and gradual psychological thrills behind the feature - you may find it a slightly more enjoyable watch.

★★★☆☆

Andrew McArthur