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Mysticism versus Skepticism (or) Dr. Vogler versus Dr. Vergerus,
This review is from: The Magician (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)An underrated film by the master Ingmar Bergman. Part horror, part comedy, part erotic, part
symbolic...it is a movie that should generate a lot of thinking when it is over.
Ostensibly it is a movie about the continuing conflict between faith and science...or reason and art but there are no quick answers. The character of Dr. Vogler may have been influenced by the myth and fact of Rasputin. Even the look is similar; Max Von Sydow is the "perfect choice of actor" in portraying this hypnotist, con-artist, or real magician.
I never had the sense that the "magic" was real, but persons behave as if the illusions were true. After a cynical medical officer humiliates Dr. Vogler, attempts to prove Vogler is nothing but a charlatan, the magician challenges him for a private performance. And in that performance Dr. Vogler dies and comes back to life again...the metaphor of Christ.
The nature of God requires us to keep on questioning. This was a theme in "The Seventh Seal' and it reappears in this film. Recommended...not as a masterpiece but as an important work of the director.
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Initial post: Aug 23, 2010 9:29:13 AM PDT
Jonathan Rimorin says:
I haven't seen this movie yet. Did I just read a spoiler?
Posted on Aug 30, 2010 2:07:13 AM PDT
I agree with Jonathan Rimorin....did you just give away a major plot spoiler? Other than that, it seems like a great movie.
Kind of reminds me of The Prestige...but that was two magicians battling....not a magician and a skeptic. :D
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2010 9:43:29 AM PDT
M. Lucas says:
I wouldn't worry about it. This isn't really the type of film you can spoil. Its a Bergman film -- it doesn't hinge on plot revelations and narrative gimmickry like a Nolan film.
One of the more under-rated films in Bergman's canon. Its a little stagey, and the faith v. skeptic topos is a tad cliché, but Gunnar Fischer puts in some of his best work in the first reel. The film is best read as Bergman's acerbic, immensely self-loathing attack on his critics. I have a real soft spot for this one. Highly recommended.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2010 10:00:00 AM PDT
Jonathan Rimorin says:
Thanks, M. Lucas! I've already pre-ordered this title; I remember reading a lot about it in Bergman On Bergman, and am looking forward to experiencing it for myself.
**Spoiler alert** Would you have said the same about "Ordet" or "Silent Light," as movies not reliant on plot revelation? Nice call on Christopher Nolan!
Posted on Sep 24, 2013 6:44:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 24, 2013 6:45:28 AM PDT
C.A. Arthur says:
Of course this film is a metaphor of Christ. That is the point: Jesus the fake. Almost all of the characters reflect New Testament characters. As a Christian I object to what is actually blasphemy. As a film goer I applaud such a magnificent movie.
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