The Illusionist

2006

Action / Drama / Fantasy / Mystery / Romance / Thriller

312
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 74%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 329192

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Rufus Sewell as Crown Prince Leopold
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Young Eisenheim
Jessica Biel as Sophie
Edward Norton as Eisenheim
720p.BLU
747.43 MB
1280*720
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
1hr 50 min
P/S 6 / 113

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DaveTheNovelist (WriterDave) 8 / 10

This is not a Review. This is only an Illusion.

"The Illusionist" is a unique film that combines two often stale genres into something fresh: the lush romantic period piece and the "AHA!" mystery thriller (a genre M. Night Shamalyan has single-handedly run into the ground recently). Helmed by a first time director (Neil Burger), based on a short story, and featuring an eclectic cast, "The Illusionist" had the perfect set-up to be a monumental disaster. With a graceful slight-of-hand, it ends up being something very good.

As with any run-of-the-mill period piece, there's a lavish attention to the set designs and costumes, here representing late nineteenth century Vienna. Director Burger puts a nice spin on the same-old, same-old with an acute attention to lighting (especially in the dreamily over-exposed flashbacks) and old fashioned camera techniques (witness the circular camera's eye closing to transition from scenes) to give the film the feel of being a fond memory of a classic movie from a bygone era.

The central romance where Edward Norton's title character and Jessica Biel's Dutchess are star-crossed lovers kept apart because of class and society, had all the makings of a snore-inducing cheese-athon. Executed in an understated manner that services the greater plot, it ends up being anything but. Norton's performance, especially in the second half of the film when he turns into a man of very few words, had the potential to be one-note. As an actor, he speaks volumes with his eyes. Biel, a former teen idol and TV star, seemed a horrific choice for this role. She pulls of the nifty trick of being quite good. Even better are Rufus Sewell as the tyrannical crown-prince and Paul Giamatti as the chief inspector. Using a short story as the source material, characterizations had the potential to be paper-thin, but these seasoned veterans make the most of their lines and scenes adding terror, humor, and gravitas through their vocal and physical deliveries where lesser actors would've been wooden and cold. The entire cast also worked together very well utilizing their odd, vaguely European and aristorcatic accent. Everyone used it so consistently and earnestly, it didn't seem to matter after awhile that the accent was unnecessary.

A more over-eager or pretentious director may have completely sabotaged the fantastic ending to "The Illusionist" and cheated the audience. Handled deftly by Burger, the grande finale where "all is revealed" is a wholly organic and satisfying conclusion that rewards the patient viewer and fulfills the lofty promises of the themes presented throughout the work.

"The Illusionist" boasts an excellent music score from minimalist composer Phillip Glass that easily rivals his great work done in "Candyman" and "The Hours." Norton and Giamatti treat us to some of the best "staring" since the days of silent films. The look on Giamatti's face and the positioning of his raised eyebrows as he watches Norton perform his illusions coupled with Norton's eyes as he pulls off his tricks are priceless.

Reviewed by marieltrokan 9 / 10

Movement is a force of nature that can be visited

The privilege of identical being weak is punishment of difference being strong

Strong is power

Difference is not power

Punishment is not power

Not power not power being power is not power not power not power

Not power not power is not not power power

Not not power power is not power

Not power not power is not power power not

Not power power not is power not

Power not is identity of non-power

Identity of non-power is non-identity of power

Non-identity of power is non-power of power

Non-power of power is nothing from power of power

Nothing from power of power is nothing from no power

From no power is power from nothing

Nothing power from nothing is no power from no power

From no power is power

No power power is from power power

From power power is power power from

Power power from is no power from

No power from is power not from

Power not from is power not direction

Power not direction is direction not power

Direction is absence

Location is absence

Presence is nowhere

Nowhere is contrast

Location is not contrast

Location is same

Symmetry is location

Repetition is location

History is location

Reality is location

Location is contrast

Movement is free to exist outside of location

Location isn't free to exist outside of movement

Location is movement

Movement is location

Movement can be travelled to

Reviewed by DKosty123 8 / 10

Tricky How An Illusion Is Confused with Magic

This movie has the unfortunate luck of being released the same time as The Prestige. It often gets confused with that film and it should not. This film in my opinion is just as good, and is different from the other film which makes this comparison a bit phony.

A dark film using locations in the Czech Republic effectively as a back ground, magic is not really the subject here much. Illusion is more of the subject. A forbidden love between children of different classes finally gets started when after the kids are broken up because their families are of different classes, not unusual in 19th century Europe. About half way through the film, after they reunite adults, she is murdered.

Edward Norton is brilliant as Eisenheim, the Illusionist whose act is beyond magic. Paul Giamatti is great as Inspector Uhl, the detective who has to cover up Jessica Biel Sophie's death for political reasons. Rufus Sewell as Crown Prince Leopold is the reason for the cover-up, in position to become King until his Sophie, his Dutchess to become Princess, is murdered.

This film is a look at lost love, murder, obsession, and Illusion and is done as well as any story I have seen filmed. The illusion at the end is worth being around for. Or perhaps is it real? The film leaves it to the viewer to decide. No narrator here, the characters and events carry the story well enough to make a narrator unneeded.

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