Chicks Netflix Picks – Houdini

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A two part series based on the great magician. A story as infamous as the name ‘Houdini’ itself with Adrien Brody comfortably taking up the role of the legendary character. A lovely set up that simply says: What you are about to see is fact, it is also fiction. We defy you to tell the difference.

From there we are transported to Houdini standing atop of the Mississippi River Bridge, shackled in chains, dressed only in a swimsuit in the bitter winter cold, the river iced over with only a hole visible for him to drop into, about to do the biggest jump of his life.  Will he or won’t he survive?
Back to the start Wisconsin 1886 born Eric Weiss a young Jewish boy into an under class society with his younger brother Dash (Tom Benedict Knight). Desperate to escape poverty and to ‘be somebody’ much unlike his father, with a passion for fame and riches takes his brother to regularly attend the visiting travelling shows. Houdini is mesmerised by the performances and after being pulled from the crowd to assist in the cutting of the lady in half trick finds his place in life.  In that moment his hunger’s insatiable and he sets to work at becoming the greatest illusionist the world has ever seen.
Houdini’s desire to give his mother Cecilia (Eszter Onodi) the best of everything is a massive driving force in this young boys psyche and she does nothing to dissuade him.  Witnessing his father lose his employment spurs Houdini even further and he is resolved to get out of Wisconsin to chase the life he is after.
Houdini ropes in his brother to become the ‘Houdini Brothers’ and their act starts from there, performing low level street magic. They are able to send money home when possible, their father passes not long after the boys leave home, Houdini’s mother now solely reliant on her sons.
01-Egon-EndreyiEric, now Harry Houdini stumbles upon Bess (Kristen Connolly) a performer herself and is instantly entranced by her. They marry almost immediately and she is disowned for choosing to marry a Jew.
The pair eat, breathe and sleep magic, Houdini has a chance meeting with Jim Collins (Evans Jones) who becomes his life long assistant.
It seems Houdini can do no wrong, escaping every inconceivable situation, he escalates to fame and fortune and becomes infamous but nothing at all can tame his passions, always working on the next biggest escape. His constant hunger to be at the top at all costs ultimately starts to affect those around him, unable to see anything outside his own desire to constantly be ‘The Great Houdini’ the relationship between he and his wife starts to fray.
Distracted by ever more pull into the highest of societies Houdini is coaxed to work for the MI5 as a secret agent, and is pushed to his limits, and the wedge between him and his wife widens.  Houdini continues to outdo himself at every turn, and has convinced himself that he is invincible.  Bess is at the end of her limit with the man she loves so deeply but feels she has no access to.
Houdini’s mother passes suddenly, a massive blow, which rocks Houdini and sends him spiralling into descent and he becomes obsessed with sorcerers to make contact to the other world. Disillusioned and feeling cheated, Houdini declares war on the psychics and sets out to seek revenge by exposing every medium across the US as frauds, publicly offering a handsome reward to anyone who can convince him that they have the gift. Bess supports her husband throughout and ultimately their enduring love sees them to the end of his life.
With impressive cast performances all round, Bernard C. Meyer and Nicholas Meyer’s writing is as slick as Uli Edel’s  direction in this modern action style take on this great classic story.
A series for everyone to enjoy, just go with the ride.

Review by Chantelle Dussette

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