10 March 2011

10 March - "bitten on the balls by a tarantula? I mean, that's embarrassing"

Rough Magic (1995)
dir. Claire Peploe

Bridget Fonda (Jackie Brown, 1997)
Russell Crowe (Gladiator, 2000)
Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge, 2001)

My first impression was that this movie was made a lot earlier than 1995. It seemed to me to follow that late '80s theme of adventure and society-girl paired with Roughneck male a la Temple of Doom (1984), Romancing the Stone (1984) and Crocodile Dundee (1986). Rough Magic seemed like a pale imitator to those films.

Not that it didn't have a lot of potential. The plot was strong, the conflict intriguing. It's about Myra, a magician's assistant, who's about to get married to a wealthy senator candidate who she doesn't love. When the Fiancé kills the magician, Myra promises to honor his dying wish to find a powerful medicine-woman and finally master her craft by getting real magic powers. She also took a photograph at the exact moment that the villain killed the magician, that's important because he hires Russell Crowe to track her down in Mexico. You can guess how that works out.

So you've got a romance. A pursuit. A fantastical twist. Some comic relief. This was a good movie! It should have been a GREAT movie and yet I was left feeling unsatisfied at the end. Not completely certain of what exactly went down. The whole thing felt rushed. Russell Crowe's character, for example, should have been more properly developed. They alluded to a tragic past, maybe some PTSD, it's unclear.

You could safely call this genre magical realism and true to that genre, the nature of the magic involved is not revealed. It's taken for granted that the medicine woman and Myra have these powers, and there's never really an Oh Shit moment when everybody might speculate on these new developments. And once the conflict is resolved and everyone is where they are supposed to be, there is no resolution to those fantastic elements. Maybe that's why I felt unresolved at the end, because magical realism rarely follows the classic heroic journey and that is the plot pattern I've grown accustomed to.

The closing scene was cute, instead of doing the typical pan to an open window, we get to focus on two white rabbits going at in next to the pile of Our Heroes clothes. haha.

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