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Customer Review

Clive Barker is a genius, but Lord of Illusions just doesn't work for me. You have this guy Nix who calls himself The Prophet; he can do all kinds of real magic, yet he seems to be content in assembling a handful of incompetent cultists in the middle of nowhere, kidnapping a young girl, and juggling fire. He walks around in a T-shirt woefully incapable of covering his huge beer-belly, so it's hard to take him that seriously. Just as we're getting to know the guy, his former disciple Swann and three other escaped cultists swoop in and manage to bind him, after which they bury him deep in the ground so no one will ever find him. Now we jump ahead thirteen years. The kidnapped girl is married to Swann, and both begin to worry when a member of the Nix vanquishing party is killed, sensing that someone is trying to bring The Prophet back. Here's where private detective Harry D'Amour steps in, stumbling his way around the major events (and deaths) that have to do with Nix's "death" and imminent return. His detective skills and the magical abilities of Swann aren't enough to keep The Prophet in his grave, and the movie ends up coming full circle back to its beginning, featuring a final showdown between Swann and Nix.
Personally, I think Scott Bakula was a bad choice to play D'Amour; he is just not the hard-nosed private detective type, and his character's lack of any real identity or personality makes him seem an illusion of sorts himself (despite the fact he is supposed to be the protagonist). The romantic link that develops between D'Amour and Dorothea Swann (Famke Janssen) is simply lifeless. The clues he finds along the way basically fall into his lap, and I am hard pressed to explain how he figured out where to go and whom to talk to about a subject he knew very little about early on. This serves to highlight the fact that the script just isn't very good, even though Clive Barker himself wrote it. There is very little character development, several discoveries and arbitrary actions are presented without explanation, and there are plot holes each step along the way. You would think that a movie called Lord of Illusions would actually feature some impressive illusions-you'd think so, but you would be wrong. This is most unfortunate because I think the concluding special effects were meant to offset the weakness of the plot. Many of the special effects were patently fake and highly disappointing. It's hard for a movie to succeed with a combination of bad casting, bad plot, and bad effects. At the end, you may well be asking yourself what this movie was really about.
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