"A naive young tourist's road trip across Chile with friends turns into a waking nightmare."
Just a quickie for "Surprise Sunday" which I'm forced to backdate due to the automated scheduling on Blogger failing. Actually, it's my fault, but it's easier to blame someone else! I wrote this review and forgot to set the posting time. Doh!
Anyway, what we have here is a tragic moment for a group of "teenagers" in a foreign country, and the events leading up to it. Essentially, it's a drama about mental illness with elements of a psychological thriller thrown in as red herrings.
Starring Juno Temple as the ill-fated and oversensitive nutter, Emily Browning (from "The Uninvited" remake) as her best friend, and Michael Cera in a even more immature and sadistic role than usual, there's a lot to like in "Magic Magic" but also a lot to hate about it too. For one thing, it doesn't have much to do with magic unless you count some bogus hypnotism and a bizarre folk-magic ritual near the end.
Thus, it's not a horror movie or a supernatural movie per se, but it has a few creepy bits and an air of menace about it in places which you have to be in the right headspace to appreciate. If you've ever felt isolated in a foreign country, especially one where you don't speak the language, you'll be able to empathise with Alicia (Juno Temple) to a certain extent.
Needless to say the actresses in this are all fairly attactive. Alicia and Sarah (Emily Browning) look very natural although Barbara (Catalina Sandino Moreno)—who I couldn't find a picture of but is in the trailer above—steals the show with her exotic beauty and sexy accent in the rare moments that she's on screen. Juno Temple flashes some T&A for perverts everywhere, and gets dry-humped by a horny dog, so kudos to her for being such a good sport.
For the ladies, Agustín Silva, the younger brother of the writer/director Sebastián Silva, should be enough eyecandy because Michael Cera sure as Hell isn't going to do it for anybody! Not only is Brink (Michael Cera) exceedingly irritating, but he's creepy with it as well. My West Coast friends would describe him as "rapey" although he's just a typical ugly teenager who hasn't realised that he doesn't have the looks to pull off his awkward attempts at seduction. He's also chosen the wrong girl to practice on for reasons which become more apparent as the story progresses.
|Where's yo chin at, dude?|
Overall, "Magic Magic" is an uncomfortable movie to watch and not a completely satisfying one either. As a "moment in time", it fails to be as enigmatic as a cult European movie despite having a similarly unresolved ending. When I say "unresolved", it does have an ending, but it leaves you wanting to know a bit more. Or not, as the case may be.
The filming in Chile is nice for people who would like to see a South American country which isn't so "third world" as xenophobes pretend it is. Chile is actually not much different to Europe financially, but the culture shock will still be there for spoiled Americans. As a coddled Brit, I've never been to Chile either and don't really want to after "Hidden in the Woods" (2012), but that's another story. The Chilean actresses are very good-looking from what I've seen so far, and if I was 20 years younger (and stupid enough to believe in movies!), I would be backpacking my way there right now.
I would recommend "Magic Magic" for the acting, but all that is negated by three scenes of animal cruelty which I'm not going to go into detail about. Suffice it to say that although they may be necessary to the story, such scenes aren't something which I wish to see in anything which is supposed to be entertainment. I've seen far too much animal cruelty in real life caused by idiots like the ones portrayed in this movie, and it just makes me angry.
You have been warned!