As lean, mean, ex-army hit-man Ray Shoesmith (Scott Ryan) goes about his daily business, he is trailed by amateur filmmaker Max (Massimiliano Andrighetto), who is making a fly-on-the-wall documentary to be released in the event of Ray's early death.


The Magician is a fictionalised documentary about Melbourne hit man, Ray Shoesmith (Scott Ryan). Massimiliano Andrighetto plays documentary maker Max who films Ray while he carries out his daily chores of murder and kidnapping. Ray talks candidly about his unique profession. His personal insights and entertaining conversations make him an inviting character, but there's always a sense of dread. At any moment, Ray could turn very nasty and it's sobering watching him going about his business.

The Magician was produced for next to nothing and it looks it – but this works to the film's benefit, perfectly suiting the story and Ray, our laidback, calculating subject. It doesn't help that the performances from the supporting cast are mostly mediocre. Ray's hostages and even Max – the documentary maker, all seem to struggle with the improvised nature of the script, but Scott Ryan's extraordinary performance more than makes up for it. He's superb as Ray, combining both humour and menace and he proves that all you really need to make a great film, is an inspired script and a video camera.