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Death Defying Acts

Year: 2008
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Cast: Guy Pearce, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Saoirse Ronan, Timothy Spall
Like a beautiful autumnal scene in a painting, this movie is full of lush colours but not much else. Gillian Armstrong takes a leaf out of popular fiction of late in a revisionist history story, proposing a love affair between illusionist Harry Houdini and spirit medium/con artist Mary (Zeta-Jones).

It's during one of Houdini's shameless self-promoting world tours that he meets the mother/daughter entertainment duo in Edinburgh, and when he offers a sizeable fortune to anyone who proves they can contact his sainted mother from beyond the grave, the two see it at their ticket.

Against her better judgement, Mary falls in love with him, and it's left to her precocious daughter (Ronan, quickly shaping up as the next Dakota Fanning) and Houdini's level headed manager (Spall) to try and stop insanity descending on the pair and ruining the knowing comfort of their respective lives.

The anticipated star-crossed lovers thing ensues, especially as Mary still has Houdini's fortune in her sights. It's all pretty, but not the most involving movie of the year.

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