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The Illusionist DVD

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In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.

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In 1900 Vienna a magician named Eisenheim the Illusionist is mystifying audiences with his sleight of hand However not everyone is so impressed by his act namely the Crown Prince Leopold who feels threatened by Eisenheim remarkable prowess A battle of wills ensues leading to deception and murder

Period drama about a mysterious magician in love with the wife of a fiery monarch. The young Eisenheim (Norton) is an Austrian boy of meagre means, son of a cabinetmaker but a lad with a keen mind. He's in love with Sophie Von Teschen (Jessica Biel) - the girl next door - who is of high breeding. Their plans to run away to China so Eisenheim can there learn the secrets of great magic are scuppered by Sophie's parents who'd as soon put a stop to the economic mis-match. In self-imposed exile, Eisenheim travels the world learning the finest, most mystical tricks, becoming a sorcerer of no little renown. Upon his return to Vienna, he finds Sophie unhappily engaged to the vile Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) who happens to be a great sceptic of the world of magic. He assigns his Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) to monitor Eisenheim and out him for a fake. The Count and Eisenheim are soon at odds and, when his dear Sophie is murdered, Eisenheim, apparently racked with grief, designs a new illusion in which she appears onstage bearing finger-pointing ill portent for the Count. Eisenheim is naturally shut down and driven out of Vienna immediately. Uhl begins to observe Eisenheim's movements more closely and to even have doubts about whether Sophie is actually dead.

  • Average Rating for The Illusionist [2006] - 4 out of 5


    (based on 1 user reviews)
  • The Illusionist [2006]
    Laure Eve

    From the opening melodic notes of Philip Glass's score to the end credits, this is what the cliched would term 'a perfect gem' of a film.
    Low key and subtle in its storytelling, playing out like a carefully nuanced crime tale with a twist; a red herring here, a fleeting clue there. I'm not usually the one to work out twists before they actually happen, but the 'twist' in question was fairly obvious, even to me. This, however, did not detract at all from the rest of the film; rather allowed me to enjoy what was unfolding, looking for other background wisps and details rather than concentrating on trying to work out the central trick. Not as if they were trying to hide it, anyway; the clue is in the title, after all.
    One of those unhappy few who haven't been bewitched by the supposed magic of Edward Norton before, in this i found him entirely engaging; carefully mysterious, but not so much that he wasn't real to the audience. Jessica Biel, about whom i knew almost nothing, was a pleasure; demure, poised and yet passionate underneath (the perfect Victorian gentlewoman, in other words). And Paul Giamatti, whom i regard as some sort of character actor god, was of course nothing less than excellent. A policeman stuck between a rock and a hard place; not entirely moral, not entirely a hideous flatfoot. Rufus Sewell was wonderful as always. A much underrated actor, he gets called on by Hollywood to play the bad guy more often than not; but this bad guy had a humanity to him that actually touched me toward the end.
    Any resemblance to a certain other similarly themed film that came out not long before is mostly fictional; the only thing they share is the period setting.
    Of the two, this was much more melodic, much quieter, more satisfying. It pretended to be nothing other than it was; a good story, well told, beautifully played.
    And buy the score; Philip Glass is genius.

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