Reviews

The Illusionist

Yari Film Group Releasing

Mark Haddon

'Norton's trademark intensity is perfectly suited to the enigmatic character of Eisenheim. He defies understanding as much as his impressive tricks. And as befits the subject, The Illusionist looks wonderful. Director Neil Burger captures every scene in an evocative daguerreotype tone. Not everyone will be taken in by the plot's final twist, but even if you guess how Eisenheim does it, you'll be won over by his showmanship.'

Matt McNally, BBC Film Reviews

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There are some films which you just become really absorbed in, and 'The Illusionist' is one of them.  The film has both a mystical and eerie feel to; Sam related it to a Hans Christian Anderson story and I think this is a brilliant categorisation of this film.

The plot follows Eisenheim, an acclaimed illusionist in 19th century Vienna.  As a young boy, then known as Edward Abramovich, he has an encounter with the young Duchess Sophie von Teschen which will change his life.  The son of the local carpenter and an aspiring magician, the other rich children of town mock and ridicule him.  However, Sophie is drawn to him and, despite being forbidden to see one another, over time they fall in love. They are discovered and, knowing they will never see each other again, Edward leaves.

The film then moves to Vienna years later where Eisenheim is putting on a show where he finds Sophie once again, engaged to the Crown Prince.  What follows is a truly brilliant plot to help Sophie escape from her wicked and treacherous fiancé so the two can flee Vienna and be together.

Edward Norton is superb as Eisenheim.  He captures the distant and dark personality of the magician wonderfully.  What further emphasises his character are the excellent performances by his co-stars, specifically Jessica Biel (Sophie), Rufus Sewell (Crown Prince Leopold) and Paul Giamatti (Inspector Uhl).

There is very little else I can say about 'The Illusionist' without giving away the plot.  It is a very clever film and even after two viewings I still cannot understand how everything is done.  There is a wonderful magical element to the film which makes me believe that what is happening 'could' be real.  Unless you can only cope with action films, you should definitely give this one a viewing!


 

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Reviewed on 20/08/2007 by Angela

 

Reviewed item details

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443543/ (All images are from IMDB)

BBC Review: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2007/02/26/the_illusionist_2007_review.shtml

Purchase the reviewed item

RRP: £17.99

Play.com: http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/3271690/The-Illusionist/Product.html

 

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