Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician was a movie I desperately wanted to love. The movie itself does such a great job of keeping you guessing and Max von Sydow gives such a stellar performance. I loved the movie up until the last few minutes of it.
The movie follows a band of traveling performers/magicians that is being persecuted by local authorities who wish to debunk all of their “tricks”. We are left guessing if the magician really does have certain powers or if they really are all stage acts. Apparently, the movie is meant as an allegory of sorts to Bergman’s own film career and a big middle finger to critics that just didn’t understand. I didn’t find that out until after watching it, but it did make me rethink many scenes.
Unfortunately, as the film is wrapping up the tone changes dramatically and instead of being in awe of Sydow’s magician I was left scratching my head as to what the hell I just watched. My wife, who was watching with me but fell asleep about 1/2 way through, asked me how it ended and I said “I really have no idea what happened”. With a different ending I feel the film could have been something quite special. I still need to go back and watch more of the special features, perhaps that will give me more insight.
Still, I would recommend watching The Magician. There is quite a lot to like even if the ending changes the tone of the movie and left me confused.
I give it 3 magic potions out of 5.