Official Selection; Quinzaine des Realisateurs, Cannes 2013
« Un élégant thriller cérébral sous l’influence de Roman Polanski » - Olivier De Bruyn, EVENE.FR
“Meticulously acted, gorgeously shot and hilariously insightful” – Peter DeBruge, VARIETY
The trouble starts the moment Alicia rests her suitcase on Chilean soil. A quiet American girl having left her native land behind to meet up with her cousin, she’s now become a stranger in a strange land with no knowledge of the language and customs of this hostile territory. It doesn’t take long before she regrets this trip that just keeps on getting worse. Not only does she have to deal with the effects of intense culture shock, but now her cousin has abandoned her and left her in the hands of her three eccentric friends. One of these, a young American crackpot, simply can’t resist the new arrival of fresh feminine presence and tries anything to get her attention. At wit’s end, Alicia is convinced that her predicament can’t get any worse when she ends up on an isolated island, cut off from the rest of the world. While she’s trying to gain her hosts’ trust and escape this suffocating situation, a perturbing event occurs that instead raises the levels of animosity within the group and sparks a sudden irruption of strange phenomena. Animals begin acting strangely in Alicia’s presence and disturbing visions now haunt her sleep. It quickly dawns on her that she’s straight-up losing her mind — unless, that is, she’s being targeted by malicious spirits. There indeed seems to be some magic in the air, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Despite its cast featuring Emily Browning, Juno Temple and Michael Cera, MAGIC MAGIC is not the film you’d expect. This isn’t another lighthearted comedy but an atypical drama, the dangerous psychological tension of which is always deftly sustained. Director Sebastian Silva blurs the lines of causality and creates an illusion of déja-vu, which he then quickly attempts to deconstruct. As soon as we embark on a familiar path, MAGIC MAGIC deviates into unknown territory, keeping us constantly guessing and desperate to see where the events lead us. Silva also infuses the film with an all-encompassing ambiguity that is as fascinating as it is disturbing. His treatment of mental illness is constantly on the verge of slipping into magical realism à la Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The relationships between his larger-than-life characters remain fuzzy and abysmal. As Brink, Michael Cera delivers a surprisingly unnerving and anti-charismatic performance that successfully shatters the good-guy persona for which he’s so well known. Extremely original, MAGIC MAGIC is guaranteed to draw you through a dizzzying range of unusual emotions, and leave you dumbstruck.
— Simon Laperrière