EIFF 2013: Magic Magic
Writer-director Sebastián Silva here channels early Polanski to produce a beguiling and gut-wrenching psychological horror for the Diablo Cody generation. And anyone else with a fondness for powerful, inventive cinema.
Alicia (Temple) ventures from US soil for the first time to visit cousin Sarah (Browning) and vacation in Chile. An enigmatic, nervous figure from the outset, Alicia becomes increasingly isolated and unsure of her own reality in a remote cabin with Sarah, Sarah’s boyfriend Augustín (Silva) and their weirdo chums Barbara (Moreno) and Brink (Cera).
Cera has ingeniously tweaked his familiar persona to that of a memorably disturbing slimeball, who’s by turns hilarious, pathetic and terrifying. Temple, continuing in the ethereal mood she conjured for Killer Joe, is perfect in this hallucinatory experience of elegant tracking shots, slyly off-kilter focus and superbly oppressive sound design. It's a tricksy work: moments of absurdity and deliciously acerbic dialogue are juxtaposed with pure dread. One never has a handle on just where this trip might go, which offers its own bewildering tension. A deranged, deadpan delight.