An illusion within an illusion.
Instead of intending Cinema as a device to knowledge gaining (the movie could have been about debunking the illusion) Everson affirms it as a way to (re-)experience and reflect upon the mystery of being.
Wow, I love magic tricks. The film stock is an excellent choice here as the black and white contributes greatly to the mystery of the tricks. This effect is compounded by the lack of sound. The director's choice to focus on the last magicians three quarter trick, from which the film derives its name, for nearly half the film shows the amount of practice these magicians put into each illusion to make them believable.
With no other sensation but stifled sight to accompany us, we bask in the powerfully mysterious and impressive world of street magic. Constant enigma and wonder permeate throughout the short run-time, but I guess that's the point.
Enjoying this is about how you approach it. A magic trick is sudden & astounds because you don't know where or how the illusion will occur. But here you have the ability to watch this short repeatedly, & through repetition you learn to see what he's really doing, & the tricks for what they are. You can watch closely until the mystery is gone, & then truly appreciate the skill on display when the "magic" is revealed.
The tricks deserve commendation but as a filmic experiment this includes only mimimanl artistry and effort in engaging the viewer with anything more than the 'astounding complex', a frame that we resort to in order to manage the 'unmanageable'. If such meta-reflexive component was present we would have talked about a project of interest. As it stands, it is a mere reduction of the extraordinary to the ordinary.
Stick a metaphorical frame around anything and suddenly it’s art. If one extends the thinking here then The Paul Daniels Magic Show [one for the U.K. there but insert local example] is worthy of an attention it’ll never get in this context. It’s a magic trick. I get it; “Next!”...
The more films I watch, the more I realise that good cinema doesn’t have to be ‘about’ something. I love Films such as this, where cinema exists for the sake of cinema, as a visual artform, as a way of recording an event on film, with nothing more to it (eg. man with a movie camera). Cinema can be for the sheer joy of film making. Some art is best appreciated for its simplicity, banality, honesty, and pointlessness.