The Magician is a darkly comic film about Melbourne-based hitman Ray Shoesmith who is being filmed by his friend and neighbour Max, a film student. As Shoesmith goes about his chilling business – threatening violence and in some cases making good on those threats – Max’s camera continues to roll. Charismatic and opportunistic, Shoesmith makes the most of his 15 minutes of fame dictating the action with his mordant wit, dry asides and unpredictable violence.
Hailed on its Australian release as one of the smartest and most entertaining Australian films of recent years, The Magician has at its core a stunning central performance from writer-director-actor Scott Ryan. Funny, tense and unpredictable, his character is a killer, a man who would as soon pull the trigger as not, but without smoothing out any of the rough edges the actor makes you like him when what you should be feeling is utter loathing.