An Honest Liar (2014)

Director: Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein Starring: James Randi, Jose Alvarez, Penn and Teller, Adam Savage, Alice Cooper, Bill Nye, Uri Geller USA/Canada. 1h m

I tend to get my fangirl cap on when James Randi is mentioned, his insightful analysis of the world of tricksters and snake oil merchants has been a huge source of inspiration and entertainment. His brief TV show that airs in the 90’s really opened the eyes of many people to the simple tricks of the big names of mystery, Poppof and Geller were among those who were unmasked as charlatans, willing to make a quick buck claiming they have rare gifts only to have Randi rip the carpet out from underneath them. In this quaint and personal documentary, directors Measom and Weinstein spend some time with Randi and give him a chance to express his past and current life with candid insights into his biggest moments in Magical history.

No spoons were harmed in the making of this film..

Randi has been quite an outspoken character for a number of years, and his passing in 2020 was a really downer for the year. But while he gained waves of followers and influenced a lot of YouTube videos that out charlatans, (you’ll not find one without a Randi Clip for sure) he also managed to create a lot of professional enemies but hopefully someone will pick up where he left off and keep up the fight for truth.. Darren Brown maybe? Measom and Weinsteins technique is quite sensitive and every opportunity is taken to see Randi as a simple upbeat gentleman, which indeed he was. In Between scenes around his home and in his local favourite cafe are slices of Randi History, his old stage performances, the time where he nearly died when a trick went wrong, and his many controlled tests to see if people really were psychic or super able or not. For anyone who watched any documentaries on Randi before there’s no real new information and he seems sharp as a button but very vulnerable …

Magicians are the most honest people in the world. They tell you they’re going to fool you, and then they do it.

-James Randi

Once the viewer is up to date with the trials and tribulations of James and his adorable lover, Deyvi Orangel Peña Arteaga and the controversies surrounding them, the last chapter of the film is a bit of a mess, there’s no rhyme or reason why it ambles on so if you feel that things aren’t going anywhere don’t live in hope just try and find some re runs of James Randi: Psychic Investigator (TV Series 1991).


Rating: 7/10

Related: Imitation game (2014), The Devil’s Horn (2016)
Lists: Skeptic Cinema



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