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The Illusionist Movie Poster

Year: 2006
Director: Neil Burger

The Illusionist Download

Cast:

Edward Norton (Eisenheim), Paul Giamatti (Inspector Uhl), Jessica Biel (Sophie), Rufus Sewell (Crown Prince Leopold), Eddie Marsan (Josef Fischer (as Edward Marsan)), Jake Wood (Jurka), Tom Fisher (Willigut), Aaron Johnson (Young Eisenheim), Eleanor Tomlinson (Young Sophie), Karl Johnson (Doctor / Old Man), Vincent Franklin (Loschek), Nicholas Blane (Herr Doebler), Philip McGough (Dr. Hofzinser), Erich Redman (Count Rainer), Michael Carter (Von Thurnburg), Vanessa Gendron (Shouting Woman), Matthew Blood-Smyth (Man Who Incites Riot), David Forest (Traveling Magician), Laurie Athey (Aristocratic Boy), Oliver Blaha (Aristocratic Boy)

Storyline:

A young boy falls in love with a girl that is way above his social standards along with the art of magic. Although the parents forbid them of seeing each other they cannot be split apart. Until one day they were found together and the boy was sent off. He became a magician and traveled the world. She fell in love with another man, the Crown Prince. The two got engaged but the boy, Eisenheim, finally meets back up with the girl and uses his powers to free her from the royal house in Vienna. Written by thecaseymac

Reviews:

This movie was stunning in many aspects. Visually in terms of locations, inside and out, there was great consistency and a nothing seemed strained. The story weaved fluidly through these locations and seemed to make the locales a vital part of the story. Ed Norton was mesmerizing, a superb performance that allowed the story to unfold seemingly at his discretion. Jess Biel was very believable and stunningly beautiful. Paul Giamatti (sp) played an admirable role and took the viewer by surprise in many elements of the story. The story was fresh and imaginative, very intriguing. Not as predictable as you would think. We saw this at a Sundance screening and the entire theater of 500+ seats was full and when the movie was over all you could hear was excited and happy chatter, lots of applause as well. Director came out for a Q&A after and was very amiable in answering questions. Highly recommended!!!

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"The Illusionist" is a unique film that combines two often stale genres into something fresh: the lush romantic period piece and the "AHA!" mystery thriller (a genre M. Night Shamalyan has single-handedly run into the ground recently). Helmed by a first time director (Neil Burger), based on a short story, and featuring an eclectic cast, "The Illusionist" had the perfect set-up to be a monumental disaster. With a graceful slight-of-hand, it ends up being something very good.

As with any run-of-the-mill period piece, there's a lavish attention to the set designs and costumes, here representing late nineteenth century Vienna. Director Burger puts a nice spin on the same-old, same-old with an acute attention to lighting (especially in the dreamily over-exposed flashbacks) and old fashioned camera techniques (witness the circular camera's eye closing to transition from scenes) to give the film the feel of being a fond memory of a classic movie from a bygone era.

The central romance where Edward Norton's title character and Jessica Biel's Dutchess are star-crossed lovers kept apart because of class and society, had all the makings of a snore-inducing cheese-athon. Executed in an understated manner that services the greater plot, it ends up being anything but. Norton's performance, especially in the second half of the film when he turns into a man of very few words, had the potential to be one-note. As an actor, he speaks volumes with his eyes. Biel, a former teen idol and TV star, seemed a horrific choice for this role. She pulls of the nifty trick of being quite good. Even better are Rufus Sewell as the tyrannical crown-prince and Paul Giamatti as the chief inspector. Using a short story as the source material, characterizations had the potential to be paper-thin, but these seasoned veterans make the most of their lines and scenes adding terror, humor, and gravitas through their vocal and physical deliveries where lesser actors would've been wooden and cold. The entire cast also worked together very well utilizing their odd, vaguely European and aristorcatic accent. Everyone used it so consistently and earnestly, it didn't seem to matter after awhile that the accent was unnecessary.

A more over-eager or pretentious director may have completely sabotaged the fantastic ending to "The Illusionist" and cheated the audience. Handled deftly by Burger, the grande finale where "all is revealed" is a wholly organic and satisfying conclusion that rewards the patient viewer and fulfills the lofty promises of the themes presented throughout the work.

"The Illusionist" boasts an excellent music score from minimalist composer Phillip Glass that easily rivals his great work done in "Candyman" and "The Hours." Norton and Giamatti treat us to some of the best "staring" since the days of silent films. The look on Giamatti's face and the positioning of his raised eyebrows as he watches Norton perform his illusions coupled with Norton's eyes as he pulls off his tricks are priceless.

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