• Publication date: February 20, 2011

Death Defying Acts Death Defying Acts

Mary McGarvie (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Benji (Saoirse Ronan of Atonement) are a mother-daughter ...

Mary McGarvie (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Benji (Saoirse Ronan of Atonement) are a mother-daughter team of Scottish swindlers, using claims of psychic ability to earn a meager living. The endeavor is not a particularly successful one however, forcing them to squat at a nearby cemetery. When news spreads that the famed magician Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) will perform in Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, the ladies begin brewing a scheme to cash in. Houdini, an adamant skeptic of so-called psychics and their ability to communicate with the dead, offers a $10,000 reward to any individual capable of repeating his mother's final words verbatim, an utterance that only the magician knows. For years dozens of professed paranormal experts have accepted Houdini's challenge, each equally unsuccessful. The McGarvies are prepared to take on the American illusionist's test, but what will the girls do differently than those who failed before them? Rather than crystal balls and Ouija boards, Benji and Mary intend to use love, a more time-tested form of deception. As Houdini becomes more infatuated with Mary, he inadvertently reveals clues regarding his mother's final moments. Despite harboring suspicion, the magician's manager Sugarman (Timothy Spall) will also become entangled with the femmes fatales and fall victim to their manipulation. What began purely for profit quickly transforms into sincere romance, and audiences are left to decide who, if anyone, was truly taken for a ride. Rating: Rated PG for some sensuality, thematic material, explicit language, violent content, and smoking.