Death Defying Acts is a series of missed opportunities.
- It could have been a biopic, showing the struggles Houdini must have gone through to become the famous escape artist he is known today. It wasn’t.
- It could have been a period peace showing the 1920’s Edinburgh. Instead even I noticed that it was not authentic, the life, sweat, drink, action, sense of reality was missing from it.
- It could have been a love conquers all kind of story. However the woman, played excellently by Catherine Zeta-Jones, was a fictional character. That in itself didn’t have to be a problem, but their chemistry was questionable both as it was written in the script and as it played out between the two actors.
- It could have been a tragic love story of unfulfilled or unrequited love, but Houdini was portrayed too self-absorbed and the woman was a fraud. Love had no chance to fit in, even if the words indicating such were said.
- It could have been tribute to Houdini’s successful efforts of debunking spiritualist. Instead it went the opposite direction and confirmed one of them. This is a disservice to the topic, no matter what you personally believe in.
It could have been a movie with reverse directional–similar to the one where Rosencratz was put
- in the central from the side of a Shakespeare play—with an emphasize on the development of the young girl, the con artists woman’s daughter. She was certainly central enough in the story line, but ended up being a strangely not fully developed character.
Too bad, because using any (combination) of the above possibilities it could have been a great film. Without them it was just a moody, well-intentioned exercise.