year is 1900 and a magician is enchanting Vienna. His name is Eisenheim
Norton) and his tricks are like those of no other illusionist before him.
His act attracts the attention of Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewel),
with his fiancee, Sophie (Jessica Biel). Leopold is skeptical of Eisenheim's
talents and, when Eisenheim asks for a volunteer from the audience, he
offers Sophie to take part in the act. What Leopold doesn't know is that
and Eisenheim have a romantic past. Leopold's act of skepticism
reignites an affair that
could threaten his reign.
Starring: Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, and
Illusionist is based on "Eisenheim the Illusionist," a
short story by Steven Millhauser. Adapted by writer/director Neil Burger,
version is a masterful combination of romance, suspense and fantasy.
As the movie progressed toward its conclusion, I kept smiling to myself.
I had no idea what to expect when I started watching The Illusionist and
the movie's genre-blending kept me guessing until the end.
the heart of the film's success are the performances by Norton,
Biel, and Paul Giamatti as Chief Inspector Uhl. Of the three, the biggest
surprise is Jessica Biel, who I would never have expected to play a role
like this at any point in her career. Giamatti's role is probably the
because his character is allied with the prince but sympathetic to Eisenheim's
plight and he balances this conflict quite well. Norton's character is
purposefully enigmatic but it's to the
actor's credit that one still cares what happens to Eisenheim despite
course, being a film about a magician, there are several magic tricks
in the movie. Using a well-balanced combination of CGI, mechanical effects,
and real sleight-of-hand, the magic element of The Illusionist never
approaches the unbelieveable. So, you're never sure which direction
the story will head. Is the magic real? Does Eisenheim have supernatural
Academy Award-nominated cinematography by Dick Pope is
interesting as the movie was shot in a sepia-toned manner similar
to that of a silent film. Combined with the excellent costumes by Ngila
Dickson, a superb score by Philip Glass,
and some great locations, the film convincingly takes the viewer
back to turn of the 20th century Europe.
it didn't make much of an impact at the box office, The Illusionist deserves
to find an audience on home video. Despite being a movie about illusions
and deception, the on-screen magic that The Illusionist creates
is quite real.
Norton did many of his own magic tricks, with the coaching of James Freedman.
He worked with Edward Norton preparing him for his stage performances
and acted as a hand double in numerous situations.
Internet Movie Database)