DEREK DELGAUDIO'S IN & OF ITSELF
Genre: Documentary/Live Theatre
Running Time: 90 mins.
Where Can You See It?: Hulu
Premise: Filmed version of creator and illusionist Derek DelGaudio's stage show of the same name that ran for 552 performances and attempts to answer the deceptively simply question "Who am I?"
Behind-the-Scenes: Directed by legendary puppeteer and director Frank Oz (The Muppets Take Manhattan, Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). Stephen Colbert is an executive producer. At one point, he asked DelGaudio to appear on his talk show, and DelGaudio was excited to do so, but requested that Colbert attend the performance first before talking with him about it. You can see why. In & Of Itself was a huge word-of-mouth hit, and several famous faces appear in the crowd in this film version.
The Good: In & Of Itself casts one hell of an emotional spell. Part monologue, part magic show - DelGaudio is a unique, calming stage presence who takes his time, presenting illusions and investigating the basic human condition: how we see ourselves and how others see us. It's an ambitious take from a master illusionist. Oz does a brilliant job of capturing the communal experience and feel of live theatre - you really do feel like you're there in the dark with these audience members. But, more than just pointing the camera at the stage, the film version is able to deviate and incorporate other visual elements in ways that pay off. A singular experience, and a truly magical one at that.
The Bad: I wish I could have seen it live! I feel completely out of the loop here, having never even heard of the show or DelGaudio before now.
Should You See It?: Definitely yes. I knew nothing about it going in, and that's exactly how it should be. Don't read up on it. Don't Google it. Don't watch the trailer. Stop reading this review. Just take a chance. Put aside whatever you were going to watch tonight, and watch this instead.
Star Rating: ****1/2 out of 5 stars
Better Than: Now You See Me, The Prestige
Worse Than: I don't know - The Godfather?
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