Written by Old Bluffer 31st Jan 2008
Harry and Karl have wanted to be stage magicians since they were childhood friends, and as thirty-somethings are still hoping to one day make it into the big time. Until that happens though, they have to earn their capes by taking whatever gigs they can find.
Along their uneventful road to stardom, Harry marries his stage assistant, Carol, seemingly oblivious to her wantonly roving eyes, even at their wedding.
Harry isn't the most astute of fellows, and her rampant infidelity goes unnoticed until one night before a show, when he walks in on her lying in a magician's box, with only her head visible, and an expression of extreme guilt. Suspicions finally aroused, Harry opens up the box and finds Karl in a highly incriminating position.
This isn't an ideal situation for any of them, but the show must go on, so Harry has no choice but to go on stage with his adulterous wife and manacle her to the highlight prop of their act - a fully functional guillotine.
Needless to say, his mind isn't fully on his work, and Carol doesn't look too thrilled as he goes through the safety checks.
The audience looks on in eager anticipation as the climax of the show is reached - the magician releases the guillotine blade, and then the screaming starts...
The above scene is actually the very start of the film, setting up the simple but enjoyable plot. Harry is fully cleared in court, but Karl doesn't believe it was just an accident and Harry is certainly not about to forgive his friend's betrayal. They unsurprisingly go their separate ways, and several years pass before they find themelves entering a magic contest together.
Old Bluffer's thoughts on the film
Magicians is an entertaining British comedy that has plenty of laughs, if never quite reaching the heights of David Mitchell and Robert Webb's most well known comedy series, Peep Show. There are also plenty of sly digs at the charlatans in the magic industry such as "psychic mediums" who exploit vulnerable people to make a living. In fact, the character of the "stooge" used in the psychic act was one of my personal favourites.
Incidentally, I haven't added "Revenge" to this death, as it's pretty clear as the film progresses that Harry didn't mean to slice off his wife's head, even though she was a cheating hussy!