Few have heard of it and even fewer will see it, but the Kirk Douglas-starring film "Illusion" is in limited release at theaters, and the film that was originally a 2004 festival flick is actually worth watching.
In his latest and most likely one of his last films, Douglas, who is finally starting to show his age, stars as an old, dying Hollywood actor who is confined to his bed and has grown reclusive even from the closest of family members. As he lays stranded in his withered body, his mind begins to wander, which summons the appearance of an old friend who died 35 years ago. With his dead friend's help, he is transported to an old movie theater where he watches the illegitimate son he disregarded thirty years ago grow up as if watching a movie. As he watches without the ability to do anything, his son Christopher (Michael A. Goorjian) goes through three different stages - high school love, twenty-something rebellion and maturity as he finally becomes an adult.
"Illusion" sounds stranger than it actually is, as it really has only two core and very sensible stories - that of a father regretting abandonment of a son, and of a son who, without the guidance of a father figure is searching out love anyway he can.
For a film that has gotten no publicity, has no big stars except for Douglas and that I assumed was heading straight to DVD, "Illusion" is surprisingly good on every front. Douglas, who in fact has more of a supporting role to little-known but recognizable Michael Goorjian, is terrific as a bright but slow-moving actor - maybe because he's playing himself. Goorjian is equally good and serves as a quality protagonist.
The story is pretty standard but is escalated by good performances and a few tweaks here and there.
"Illusion" is a film that isn't particularly memorable but vastly exceeds expectations on every count. It's a quality film that should be given respect.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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