English Movies, Thriller

The Illusionist directed by Neil Burger

2006_the_illusionist_wallpaper_0012 Take the acting genius of Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and the beauty of Jessica Biel and a villain played by Rufus Sewell, put it in turn of the century Vienna, throw in some great cinematography and make it a story of mystery, intrigue and love and yes lots  and lots of magic and what do you have?

A sublime watching experience, that's what you get…

Eisenheim (Norton), son of a cabinetmaker leaves home to go around the world after his budding romance with imgthe illusionist1Duchess Teschen (Biel) is thwarted, but not after he meets a travelling magician with whom he is fascinated.

He comes back many years later and he performs magic which seems almost paranormal in nature. He performs magic that no-one has ever seen before and rapidly becomes the talk of the town, attracting the attention of the crown prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) who is at this time engaged to Teschen (planned marriage for political reasons).

Eisenheim and Teschen meet on a show and embark on an affair but this time they plan to disappear properly. They weave a plan that has magic and mystery in huge dollops. The crown prince is the way though…

The acting is superb all around. Giamatti is superb in his role as the chief inspector in the pay of the crown prince and yet someone who has imgthe illusionist3a conscience and a thirst for knowledge of magic. He is also the narrator of the movie and the person who finally unravels the whole mystery. Norton is simply sublime in his role as the enigmatic and the intense magician. The variety of roles he can do is simply breathtaking…

The cinematography and the music score deserve a special mention.  Since the movie is a period piece, the ambience both visual and  auditory is vital. This movie has a wonderful synthesis of both.

Its a complete immersive experience – both from the visual point of view and from the story point of view. The the-illusionist11performances at the show are very gripping and very intense, especially the ones at the latter part, which border on necromancy.

This is a movie that can be seen again and again and which will be enjoyed everytime…

By the way, you will see some similarity with the movie “Prestige”, since both are period pieces and have elements of mystery…but both are different and both classics in their own right…

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