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Death Defying Acts

Death Defying Acts PG rating

The great illusionist Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) meets his match when the charming and manipulative Mary McGarvie (Catherine Zeta-Jones) magically appears in his life.

Drama 2007 93 mins

Director: Gillian Armstrong

Overview

The great magician Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) is at the height of his fame when he offers $10,000 to anyone who can quote back to him his mother’s dying words. The offer piques the interest of budding con-artist Mary McGarvie (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and with her daughter Benji (Saoirse Ronan) she sets out to infiltrate Houdini’s inner life. Despite the protestations of Houdini’s manager (Timothy Spall), the illusionist and the arch manipulator are soon on their way to romantic entanglement.

Gillian Armstrong’s sly and seductive romance boasts lavish period detail and two cracking lead performances, with Zeta Jones on especially fine form, building on the devilish charm previously displayed in films like Intolerable Cruelty.