The Illusionist (2006) Review

Verdict: Intelligent

Interesting story with good acting and costumes.


Eisenheim (Edward Norton) earns a living by putting shows on as ‘The Illusionist’. One night, the Crown Prince of Vienna (Rufus Sewell) is in attendance, he volunteers his fiancée, Sophie (Jessica Biel) for one of Eisenheim’s acts. When on stage, Eisenheim realizes that she was his first love who was taken away from him due to class differences. Sophie soon realizes this too, and they start an affair. Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) reports this back to the Crown Prince who doesn’t take it lightly. Directed by Neil Burger.

My friend recommended this film to me saying it reminded him of Now You See Methough I don’t see much of a correlation except for the magical element. The story is not that focused on the magical element though that does play a big part in creating the illusion of the film.

The acting is great, with the chemistry sizzling between Norton and Biel. Norton carries his character well and his charisma shines through the screen. Biel too does great in her role and with the costumes smoothly fits into that time era. What really shines as well is the acting by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Eleanor Tomlinson who play the young versions of Eisenheim and Sophie. The emotions they convey transcend the screen and feel pretty authentic.

The setting of the film creates a nice atmosphere that complements the time period they are depicting. The colours have a very reminiscent feel to them with brownish and dark colours illustrating the past era. The costumes too are elegant and classy with long trench coats for the men and frilly dresses for the women- though the only female character in the film is pretty much Sophie. My goodness, I had a pretty big problem with that. Sophie was the only female character who was kind of like the other protagonist, but then she doesn’t get much screen time. What. I was flipping out a little. Adding to that, I was a little peeved at the introduction of Asian characters who didn’t speak and only served as muscle power.

The story itself though is not entirely unpredictable, is still quite fascinating. However, I wished the film had shown more magical tricks, instead of focusing so much on the romance line. Also, the film cuts through the chronological order quite a bit which for the most part helped in creating the mystery of the story, but some bits were still a little confusing to match the events altogether.

Overall though it was still a well made film with great acting and an interesting storyline.

To sum-up:
PROS: Acting, story, costumes and settings
CONS: One female character, racist 

I give this a 7/10.

Have you seen The Illusionist? Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!


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