Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: Alakaflim, Alakaflam!

An Honest Liar (DIR. Justin Weinstein & Tyler Measom)


By: Addison Wylie

An Honest Liar is a chip off of James “The Amazing” Randi’s block.  Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom’s doc is as entertaining and clever as any of Randi’s illusionary deceptions.

Residing in Toronto, Ontario before joining the circus and becoming one of the most successful magicians of all time, Randi set out to disprove charlatans and phonies claiming to have mystical powers when really they were using – and abusing – the fundamentals of magic.

Randi is a charismatic subject who’ll have you grinning from ear to ear.  He’s so easy to like and he never has an ego to flaunt.

He lets the filmmakers flip through pages of his life (the film is literally structured in chapters) and allows them to dig anywhere they want.  Even if that means questioning him about his partner or his past where he was faced with the opportunity to be his own enemy.  A title card wrapping up the film reminding viewers that James gave permission for all the interviews to be used is a wise and mindful move on Weinstein and Measom’s part.

Weinstein and Measom match the magician’s humbleness with a film that isn’t cocky towards those who are targeted.  It openly accepts the views from “the other side” that try to pin Randi as a curmudgeon big shot, but we learn that James’ theories hold much more water than – let’s say – his notable rivals Uri Geller and Peter Popoff.

An Honest Liar is a supremely satisfying doc.  It doesn’t take much magic for the directorial duo and Randi to sweep us off our feet.

Catch An Honest Liar at Toronto’s Hot Docs International Film Festival on:

Saturday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

Click here for more details and to buy tickets.

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