Death Defying Acts (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Death Defying Acts (2008)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Pretty but dull, with unconvincing turns from Zeta-Jones and Pearce. If you want a period magician movie, seek out The Prestige or The Illusionist instead.

Death Defying Acts Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

"Death Defying Acts" is based on the life of Harry Houdini, the fictional tale of how an escapologist fell in love with an Edinburgh woman.more
Rating: PG (for some sensuality, thematic material, language, violent content and smoking)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Brian Ward, Tony Grisoni
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 28, 2008
Runtime:
Genius Productions

Cast

Guy Pearce
as Harry Houdini
Catherine Zeta-Jones
as Mary McGarvie
Timothy Spall
as Mr. Sugarman
Jack Bailey
as Red Haired Pilot
Malcolm Shields
as Leith Romeo
Leni Harper
as Leith Romeo's
Ralph Riach
as Mr. Robertson
Olivia Darnley
as Flower Stall Seller
Anthony O'Donnell
as Oily Librarian
James Holmes
as Ugly Mug
Aaron Brown
as Sugarman's Assistant
Billy McColl
as Usherette
Aileen O'Gorman
as Seamstress
Raymond Griffiths
as Music hall Dwarf
Shaun Mason
as Heckler
Tom Cotcher
as Boxer's Manager
Joanne Cummins
as Houdini Fan 1
Carol Robb
as Houdini Fan 2
Mark Carter
as Reporter 1
MacKay Crawford
as Psychic Reporter
Paul Grunert
as Hotel Manager
Martin Fisher
as Concierge
Emma Humprhies
as Chambermaid
Miles Jupp
as Ventriloquist
Tim Frost
as Tap Dancer
Chloe Mackie
as Psychic Twin
Holly Mackie
as Psychic Twin
David McKail
as Matre d
Maev Alexander
as Autograph Hound
Richard Dean Anderso...
as Angel with Red Hair
Rod Arthur
as Police Chief
Alan David
as Professor
Lorraine Hilton
as Professor's Assissta...
Dodger Phillips
as Reporter 2
Campbell Graham
as Reporter 3
Justin Flagg
as Montreal Student
Martin Fisher
as Concierge
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Death Defying Acts

Critic Reviews for Death Defying Acts

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (12)

All in all, it's a bit of a snore that falls back on romance when all else fails.

Full Review… | August 8, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

Director Gilliam Anderson doesn't distinguish this generic romance from a thousand other costumed bodice rippers -- is a kinky handcuff scene too much to ask?

Full Review… | July 18, 2008
I.E. Weekly
Top Critic

Pearce's boys-adventure take on the vaudeville legend is a hoot, though not nearly as laughable as the dialogue or Zeta-Jones's pitiful attempts at basic emoting.

Full Review… | July 16, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

What the film loses in momentum as the romance takes over, it gains in sex appeal as its two attractive actors make their own kind of magic.

Full Review… | July 11, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

All a 'what if' movie needs to win me over are some lush costumes and production design, a smart casting choice or two, and a really ridiculous basic idea. Death Defying Acts obliges on all fronts.

Full Review… | July 11, 2008
Slate
Top Critic

Director Gillian Armstrong is more attentive to decor than the story, which never seems in a hurry to get anyplace in particular and concludes with a thud.

Full Review… | July 11, 2008
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Death Defying Acts

½

A fictitious account of Harold Houdini. It focuses on a love he has for a woman that claims to be psychic. Unfortunately the film is void of any real engagement or excitement. Zeta-Jones is fine, but never for a single second did I believe she was going to screw over Houdini. This left me with a rather predictable love story that I was hoping would hurry along. There was never a real sense of wonderment at Houdini's tricks, and the film tried to hard to pull away his showbiz facade. We are left with an interesting and emotionally frail man, but since it isn't juxtaposed against how he was perceived it wasn't particularly interesting. Saoirse Ronan shows why she is becoming a fantastic lead actress, but the majority of this just never peaks that high.

kiriyamakazou
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

½

Overall this really is a pleasant and enjoyable film, but it is incredibly typical. There is nothing particuarly special about it, nor does it do anything unexpected. It is mediocre to the very end, but at the same time decent to watch. I picked this up because Saoise Ronan was in it, and she is so young and tiny! And at the same time, she is just as great and confincing as the rest of the cast. The film is extreamely atmospheric, that is the main thing that stood out to me. Well, and the score is decent. Other than that, everything is just... okay. The story is inoffensive, the acting is decent, the direction seems competant enough, but nothing is that extraordinary. I just wish there was more to grab ahold of, to rave or whine about. I would even like some major flaws if there were some killer virtues to go with them. I had never heard of this movie until actually watching it, and I cannot help but thing that there is a reason for that. So, I really cannot say that I recommend it, but at the same time I do not NOT recommend it... It is an odd blend. The film is decent enough, but you really are wasting your time in watching it. There is nothing to make you think, or make you feel. You will not be stimulated at all.

neverteaseaweasel
Jake ....

Super Reviewer

I was surprised that I have never head of this film before watching it. Overall, this was an entertaining movie. I enjoyed watching it, even thought there is not too much beneath the surface. This movie was a little drawn out at the end, but still, I thought it was better than most critics have given it credit for.

FireStormStudios
Jon Lantz

Super Reviewer

Death Defying Acts Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Death Defying Acts on our Movie forum!