A sleight-of-hand fantasy pulls a rabbit from Netflix’s most-watched hat

Emperor Motion Pictures

Even though we all know that there’s no such thing as real magic (unless we’re very wrong and it’s the best-kept secret in human history), we continue to be enthralled by sleight-of-hand. A large part of it is that the best tricks leave you wondering how the hell the performers managed to pull it off, something Netflix users have been asking after checking out The Great Magician.

The Hong Kong blend of fantasy, comedy, and drama was originally released over a decade ago, but it’s been enjoying a renewed wave of appreciation this week. As per FlixPatrol, co-writer and director Derek Yee’s period piece has charted on the platform’s global rankings, and it’s definitely one worth seeking out for those who enjoy a touch of mystery in their lives.

the great magician
Emperor Motion Pictures

Bolstered by a reliably excellent performance from Tony Leung in the lead role, The Great Magician finds the actor appearing among the waiting crowds of 1920s China to face an indomitable challenge. The best and brightest talents in the nation have gathered to try and replicate an impossible trick in an effort to claim a lucrative prize, but it would appear that there’s only one person with the skills to get it done.

Throw in subplots revolving around a warlord clamoring for a prisoner to be his seventh wife, secret undercover operatives representing the Qing Dynasty, surreptitious businessmen with hidden agendas, and many more disparate strands; The Great Magician possesses plenty of narrative meat on its bones outside of the flashy tricks of the street-level magic trade.

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