One of the points that screenwriter Everett de Roche tries to make in his script is that Rasputin is not an outright villain certainly, Wolfe is portrayed with a great deal more benevolence than history (or at least cinema) sees Rasputin as having. De Roche tries to portray the character in terms of the suasive influence he had on the people around him in this respect, the aloof coldness of Robert Powells usual acting it put to fine use. Powell is outfitted in a sensational array of costumery including black leather, harlequin costumes and the striking incongruity of a dinner suit with black nail polish.
The film is full of startling illusions and tricks in the end, one is kept deliberately uncertain whether Wolfes powers are real or not. The end rises to a startling level of metaphoric analogies between magicians and politics and between assassinations and vanishing tricks. A film that makes one think.
Australian director Simon Wincer who went onto make mainstream films such as Free Willy (1993) and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001). Wincers other genre films include the stalker film Snapshot/The Day After Halloween (1979), the android boy film D.A.R.Y.L. (1985), the Cyberpunk biker film Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) and the comic-book superhero adaptation The Phantom (1996). Harlequin still remains Simon Wincers best film.
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