It can be argued that a movie that is about a great many things is a strong one. There are more than enough examples throughout film history to support this statement. Movies that tackle several issues can be analyzed and enjoyed on multiple levels and speak to a wider audience than those that concentrate on hammering home a single viewpoint or idea. One must be mindful, though, that the mere fact that a film is thematically multifaceted is not a guarantee of quality. The filmmaker must cohesively weave the numerous ideas into the film’s fabric to help ensure cohesion for the final product.
It’s become something of a cliché to draw links between any claustrophobic discomfort piece and the work of Roman Polanski. Magic Magic not only has the chamber piece qualities of the man’s apartment films and Carnage, but also the island locale and proximity to paralyzing waters of films like Knife in the Water, Cul-de-sac and The Ghost Writer; furthermore, it also shares a blonde protagonist losing her grip on reality à la Repulsion. It’s an easy film to play ‘Spot the Roman’ with, but the comparison is valid and not just superficial checklist-ticking in this case. If, as a whole, it never reaches the same heights of quality as the best of Polanski’s more horror-inclined films, Sebastián Silva’s unnerving and enigmatic thriller has scenes that certainly stand up to worthy association.