Set in the Victorian era and based on the Austrian royal monarchy, The Illusionist is a love story with a magical spine.
Eisenheim and Sophie are childhood romantics who meet much later in years in Vienna from when they were seperated. Eisenheim has since travelled much and learnt much magic. Sophie herself, being locked in high society, is destined to be married to the Crown Prince Leopold, who is a cunning and proud man.
When the young lovers meet once more, they desire to elope, despite the growing pressure to stop them from being together by the jealous Leopold and his power-hungry and relentless Chief Inspector Uhl.
Eisenheim prepares for his ultimate illusion which causes tongues to wag and heads to roll. Will the Inspector be able to expose him for his crowd-pulling tricks, or will the Crown Prince successfully destroy the lovers’ plans?
The Illusionist will be scrutinized as he attempts to shock his audience one last time.
Keeping in mind magic is about illusion, watch the movie with an open mind and I recommend not to spend effort trying to explain the tricks like what the Crown Prince did. Watch the details and the not-so-subtle one liners which make up for a highly-excusable ending.
Paul Giamatti who plays the Chief Inspector has impressed me with his ability to veer away from his trademark stuttering and introverted speech manner and delivered a credible performance as a stressed-out and suspicious investigator. The magician is played by Edward Norton, is not in unfamiliar acting requirements as he continues his stern and smirk countenance. True to the character though, but he did forgot his English accent in one line when Sophie in the horse carriage.
Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel star in this understated but adequately entertaining movie. I haven’t seen “the other magician movie” yet, but I think it should be better for my tastes.
IMDb – The Illusionist (2006)