The Illusionist Reviews
The Illusionist is a mystery drama movie set in Vienna at the end of the 19th century, with magic on show and a royal who doesn't like it much. The movie is an interesting one, the plot is very intriguing and really makes you think quite a bit about what will happen next. I think the movie also stays with you afterwards as you fully realise what has happened in the movie, a kind of nice after taste if you will.
It has a smart plot and feels even smarter as the credits roll, there is no doubt this will please many many fans but I did feel this movie thinks it is much smarter than it is. Now it is not that the film has been done before necessarily, it is just that the plot when thought about is good but in truth you can see the producers really wanted people to leave and think "Wow that was amazing" and try to win you over on only one element of the story.
The movie is well acted all round and the cast are picked well, Edward Norton is fine as our main character Eisenheim and he manages to confidentially play out a difficult role. Paul Giamatti as Chief Inspector Uhl is good as well, the way in which his character has two faces in a way really makes this a defining role for Giamatti in cinema. Jessica Biel is fine as the Duchess and although she isn't great, her role is very important in the end, with Rufus Sewell's portrayal of the Crown Prince Leopold also a very fine and important role all together too.
Neil Burger writes and directs the movie and he does both well mixing together elements which haven't been done before and bringing in the tried and tested to create an all round good film. Above all he directs well here and it is one of the best things about this, Burger manages to bring not only the most out of the characters but also true emotion and it can't be said that you don't feel for the characters if not a little by the end in anyway.
Now don't get me wrong the movie can have it's dull moments although it isn't bad I don't mean, I am just saying that the scenes can around the middle to middle ending feel too dull and as if everything happening is completely predicted. The real pay off as I have said is of course the end and I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen this, but let's just say that you have to wait until the end to really get the full force of this movie.
The film is even well researched, it goes well with a true story in history about the Crown Prince and the duchess and takes a new if not absurd spin on the story, well for some maybe it is absurd. I liked the setting of the movie, Vienna provides a beautiful backdrop and one of the defining things about this is the architecture, it may make you want to go on holiday there after viewing I have no doubt.
Overall it is a good piece of cinema and one that will be remembered, As I said it thinks it is smarter than it really is so some may watch this and really love it like a lot. It is though a smart plot in fairness and a smart movie all round, the cleverness of the team in directing and writing and also the acting makes this a fine movie and one that may have some calling for why certain actors didn't get award nominations.
Set in the 19 century, the film focuses on illusionist Eisenheim who is arrested for the murder of Duchess of Teschen. Inspector Walter Uhl interrogates Eisenheim who denies killing the Duchess and starts to tell his story to Inspector Uhl in order to make him believe in his word.
In the late 90īs Edward Norton was an extremely talented actor but during the first decade of the new millennium his creative choices and performances left something to be desire (in my humble opinion) and "The Illusionist" is a great example of this. "The Illusionist" counts with some solid performances by its short and peculiar cast, decent entertainment values, a functional but good score, an intriguing premise, a perfectly made 19 century atmosphere, a straightforward pacing and gorgeous cinematography that makes you feel like you are watching an extremely old film. As you could see, all the greatest elements this film has is on the technical department. This film also counts with a generic direction, some unnecessary subplots, the characters are nothing more than stereotypes (with the exception of Paul Giamattiīs character), there is not a single moment where you are emotionally involved, it lacks memorable moments, a forgettable and poorly written story, an ending that tries too hard to imitate the shock value of the one in "The Usual Suspects" and last, but not least important, the film is not the magician film its marketed as but a cliché and laughable romantic story between two people of different social status.
"The Illusionist" may be an entertaining film for some but at the end of the day is a poorly written generic love story of the 19 century. If it wasn't for Edward Norton this film would completely forgotten.