Film Review: Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

MAGICIAN: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

Documentary Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles is a comprehensive look at the career of the famed director and actor. Director Chuck Workman’s film seeks to explain why Welles is spoken of in such glowing terms.

Tracing his career from early stage actor in Ireland to critically acclaimed movie star and director, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles offers an encompassing view of the public life of the Hollywood star. Friends, co-stars and fellow directors give their thoughts on the astonishing Orson Welles…

Chuck Workman has created an informative and entertaining documentary with Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles. The film begins at the outset of Welles’ career, making it a biography that is easy to follow. Workman defines different eras in the filmmaker’s career. This is an astute move; the delineation from early success to later struggles is clear.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles speaks to a range of individuals. The focus of the film is clearly on the public persona and career of Welles rather than his personal life. Although the later is referred to during the course of the film, Workman concentrates on the more interesting career tangent.

A variety of directors are interviewed throughout Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles. It is interesting to note perspective of other filmmakers in discussing the director responsible for Citizen Kane, the film many see as one of the greatest films of all time. Welles’ influence on subsequent directors is clear, from both the range of directors interviewed (including Julie Taymor and Martin Scorsese) and what these filmmakers have to say.

Chuck Workman’s film is obviously well researched, particularly with the early aspects of Welles’ career. Fans of Welles are likely to find the clips and background to his early films fascinating. Overall, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles is a must see for fans, and a great appraisal for casual viewers.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles is being released at the BFI Southbank and selected venues nationwide from 3rd July 2015.