The Magician – or why cokeheads make better film students…

The Magician is a 2005 movie written and directed by its ‘star’ Scott Ryan. It was issued on DVD in 2006 and is currently available for a couple of quid in a bargain bin near you (if you live in the UK anyway). This is essentially a no budget film shot on DV for about AS $3000  dollars, it is talk heavy and the dialogue is mainly improvised. Ryan plays Ray Shoesmith, a Melbourne hitman who will make anyone disappear for the right amount of money. Shoesmith’s schtick  is that he kidnaps his victims and then murders them at remote locations – this is patently a ridiculous strategy for a successful hitman, so it is clear from the off with this mockumentary that we are in la la land.

Ryan and those around him don’t look like underworld characters, they don’t even come across like actors, they are obviously film students. There are several drug threads in the film, and it pretty much concludes with a tin of cocaine being retrieved from a derelict building in the outback. This seems fitting because Ryan comes across in his own movie as the archetypal cokehead. He not only spouts crap but clearly believes his own bullshit, and would appear to be playing himself. He also looks like and has the mannerisms of someone with a really bad coke habit; in one of the out-takes from the movie he can even be seen dabbing his gums with a finger, leading any viewer with more than two brain cells to rub together to suspect there is coke on the digit.

Ryan may or may not be a cokehead – I can’t prove he is, although I’d be very surprised to discover he wasn’t – but this doesn’t matter. The fact that he looks like he’s constantly buzzed-up accounts for his success in getting his movie theatrically released. Ryan is a man the movie industry can identify with because he appears to be a drug fiend with a chemically enhanced sense of self-belief. The Sun apparently described this movie as ‘Man Bites Dog meets Chopper’, when actually it operates more along the lines of the 1979 Cocaine Cowboys meets The Blair Witch Project. But then neither a cynical Sun hack nor their readers are likely to be familiar with Cocaine Cowboys despite the fact it stars Andy Warhol and Jack Palance and was directed by Ulli Lommel. According to rumour, the drug smuggling rock band in the film were real life ‘cocaine cowboys’ and financed their own movie.

Don’t buy The Magician, although if you like Melbourne as a place you might want to borrow it from someone and watch it with your finger pressed to the fast forward button on your  DVD remote control. The making of documentary which depicts Scott Ryan as a sad wannabe still living at home with his parents is funny in short bursts too. The best thing I can say about The Magician is that it gives you a real insight into the mindset of both those who run the commercial film industry and those who want to crack it. Oh, and it is a lot better than certain other examples of no budget schlock, most obviously utter crud like the Amateur Porn Star Killer series. Which is, of course, my way of damning The Magician with very faint praise.

And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-09-02 11:53:49 +0000

Coke is rubbish, Pepsi has more bubbles and Michael Jackson!

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-09-02 14:49:28 +0000

Oh come on Zen Master, things go better with coke!

Comment by The Utterly Fake Howard Marks on 2009-09-02 23:08:29 +0000

Drugs? Did somebody mention drugs?

Comment by Mister Dippy on 2009-09-03 09:49:03 +0000

Home you are a miserable cunt, don’t you like anything?

Comment by Andy Warhol on 2009-09-03 10:32:23 +0000

You should have snorted a few lines yourself before watching this film, then it would have looked great!

Comment by Paul McCartney Walking Down The Kings Road With Squire For No Good Reason Whatsoever…. on 2009-09-03 10:58:17 +0000

The best hit men are like me, they don’t hurt other people, they make them happy with hit records!

Comment by Paul Curran on 2009-09-03 10:58:42 +0000

I saw a poster for Mesrine the other day that said Godfather meets Goodfellas. That must have stretched the reviewer.

Comment by Paul Gadd Undergoing A Schizophrenic Attack And Thinking He Is Paul Potts Performing At A Michael Jackson Tribute Night on 2009-09-03 13:36:29 +0000

Don’t blame it on the good times, don’t blame it on the moonlight, blame it on the Columbian marching powder…..

Comment by Victor Hugo on 2009-09-03 14:47:29 +0000

What is a movie? What is a DVD?

Comment by François Maurice Mitterrand on 2009-09-03 15:32:03 +0000

Americanisation is an ugly tide killing out planet! Coca-colonisation is destroying everything that is good in the world! Pepsi is even worse, it has more boom and bust bubbles.

Comment by Scott Ryan on 2009-09-03 15:50:41 +0000

dude, your cock is hanging out

Comment by Beelzebub on 2009-09-03 22:30:05 +0000

Scott, I’ve got three fat lines of coke for you if you’ll just get down on your knees and suck that dick you can see hanging out.

Comment by Astaroth on 2009-09-03 23:12:05 +0000

Don’t suck his meat, suck these two dicks of mine that I’ve covered with the finest mofo cocaine you will ever lick off an erect 12 inches of svengali and meatballs!

Comment by Howard Wall on 2009-09-04 00:27:08 +0000

I don’t need cocaine, I’m on heat!

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-09-04 06:11:34 +0000

I thought you were talking about Coca Cola. I’m jonesing for some right now. Gawd, it’s easier to kick the cocaine habit …
Hey Mr. Trippy, what possessed you to watch this flick in the first place?

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-09-04 11:17:36 +0000

Why did I watch it? Imagine staying overnight in a village with two small shops, a couple of bars. There is nothing to do after 11pm and nothing worth watching on DVD. A copy of The Magician happens to be lying around, so you put it on and 90 minutes later you are still bored shitless!

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-09-04 14:38:17 +0000

Point taken! I checked out an interview with Scott Ryan on Youtube and .. well … I must thank you for watching this stuff so we don’t have to!

Comment by Paul McCartney, getting pure horny at his own press on 2009-09-09 12:41:38 +0000

Hey my Beatles payday isn’t over yet. And we’ll be brining out ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ on DVD next complete with loads of outtakes that will make trash culture look like the trash it is!!!

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