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:: The Magician

The Magician is a memorable piece of Australian cinema. Scott Ryan stars as Ray, a hit man and the subject of a documentary made by his neighbour Max. Max follows Ray as he stalks and kills his prey. The film explores the relationship between the two characters, with Max always behind the camera, and follows the moral ambiguities along the way. Rather than depressingly morbid, however, the film stays darkly comic. The movie is remarkable in the fact that Scott Ryan also wrote, edited, produced and directed the film.

The sense of humour is akin to Tarantino films, and the dark content is bound to draw that parallel. There are quibbles on pop culture, and the mundane aspects of Ray's line of work are poked fun at. The film is more developed than a surface mock-umentary, however, as it captures the complexities of Ray's character through his brash exterior. It also veers away from indulgently bloody scenes and focuses on the character development.

The failing in the film is the slight drag at times, lending atmosphere but detracting from pace. The shakey cam might unsettle some audiences on the big screen also. On the whole, however, the writing, direction, acting and comedy make this a compelling watch.