Comedy often does not translate well from language to language and culture to culture, and at first, not knowing as much about the culture or setting as I would have liked, I found Derek Yee‘s The Great Magician to be somewhat off-putting. However, as it began to settle into its storyline, I found it to be both something of a delightful rom-com and an interesting political satire.
Honestly, there are times when some of the obviously CGI illusions (especially those dealing with fire, which unfortunately are used as a large part of what convinces the people of the magician’s actual power) do break the suspension of disbelief, and drew me out of the film, but overall, I found it effective and entertaining.
The film stars the Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, who many will remember from last year’s The Grandmaster, and whose presence was the impetus for my watching this film, alongside Lau Ching-wan and Zhou Xun. It is currently available for streaming on Netflix with a Chinese soundtrack and English subtitles.