Magic in the Moonlight (Dir. Woody Allen/2014)
Woody Allen returns with his annual treat. Magic in the Moonlight imagines a stuck-up, pompous magician (Colin Firth), trying to debunk a psychic (Emma Stone). Unfortunately, a clear plot is muddled by irrelevant romance that only serves to illustrate the distaste towards Allen’s oeuvre. Firth is considerably older than Stone and their romance is forced from the outset. Supporting actors are underused and dull (except for Hamish Linklater’s serenading fool Brice, whose dreary voice perfectly personifies the desperate lover). Woody Allen has asked the question of faith many times before, and a scene whereby Firth prays to God is a memorable highlight. As always, it’s refreshing to hear Woody Allen’s cultured dialogue and refined choice of music on the cinema-screen. But upon the resolution to the central theme, the film loses its steam. A final fifteen minutes stretches the story too long and what could’ve been acceptable becomes gratuitous tosh.