Review by Mary Sparkman
The life and career of the renowned stage magician turned scientific skeptic of the paranormal, James Randi.
This full length documentary is a wonderful look into the life of master magician, James Randi. He tells his story with charm and wit, his eyes glistening all the while. Fascinated with magic since he was a young boy, he joins the carnival at the tender age of 17 to become an escape artist. He has a respect for magic and its audience and he has disdain for those that claim magic is anything other than what it is; it is trickery and to allow your audience to think it is reality makes for a most dishonest magician. Randi reaches a point in his life where performing the magic becomes second to exposing those that claim truth in their tricks.
We follow his tale as he talks of exposing Uri Gellar, the famous spoon-bending psychic, and Peter Popoff, the faith-healer who claimed that by putting faith (and money) in him, all woes would be healed. It is admirable of Randi to take on such a charge, as this fraudulent behavior needed to be exposed. Sprinkled with celebrity interviews and guest appearances, Randi’s life becomes very relatable.
The film also documents his 25 year relationship with Jose Alvarez and their life together. They are tender with one another and we realize this is the support system that allows Randi to indulge in his battles of the dishonest magician. This is a ponderous look into not only the tricksters of the day but why people are so apt to believe miracle acts are true miracles. Something in the psyche wants spoon-bending to be real and Randi’s crusade to discredit that is honorable. A charming film of the life and times of James Randi with a twist at the end that even he didn’t see coming.
In select theaters April 10th including the Angelika in Dallas