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The Illusionist [DVD]

222 customer reviews

Price: £3.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell
  • Directors: Neil Burger
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 9 July 2007
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MV82H0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,774 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Period drama about a mysterious magician in love with the wife of a fiery monarch. The young Eisenheim (Norton) is an Austrian boy of meagre means, son of a cabinetmaker but a lad with a keen mind. He's in love with Sophie Von Teschen (Jessica Biel) - the girl next door - who is of high breeding. Their plans to run away to China so Eisenheim can there learn the secrets of great magic are scuppered by Sophie's parents who'd as soon put a stop to the economic mis-match. In self-imposed exile, Eisenheim travels the world learning the finest, most mystical tricks, becoming a sorcerer of no little renown. Upon his return to Vienna, he finds Sophie unhappily engaged to the vile Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) who happens to be a great sceptic of the world of magic. He assigns his Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) to monitor Eisenheim and out him for a fake. The Count and Eisenheim are soon at odds and, when his dear Sophie is murdered, Eisenheim, apparently racked with grief, designs a new illusion in which she appears onstage bearing finger-pointing ill portent for the Count. Eisenheim is naturally shut down and driven out of Vienna immediately. Uhl begins to observe Eisenheim's movements more closely and to even have doubts about whether Sophie is actually dead.

From Amazon.co.uk

The Illusionist offers welcome proof that "arthouse" quality needn't be limited to the arthouses. Set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, this stately, elegant period film benefited from a crossover release in mainstream cinemas, and showed considerable box-office staying power--granted, teenage mallrats and lusty males may have been drawn to the allure of Seventh Heaven alumna Jessica Biel, who rises to the occasion with a fine performance. But there's equal appeal in the casting of Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti, who bring their formidable talents to bear on the intriguing tale of a celebrated magician named Eisenheim (Norton) whose stage performance offends the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), a vindictive lout who aims to marry Duchess Sophie (Biel), Eisenheim's childhood friend and now, 15 years later, his would-be lover. This romantic rivalry and Eisenheim's increasingly enigmatic craft of illusion are investigated by Chief Inspector Uhl (Giamatti), who's under Leopold's command and is therefore not to be trusted as Eisenheim and Sophie draw closer to their inevitable reunion. Cleverly adapted by director Neil Burger from Steven Millhauser's short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist," and boasting exquisite production values and a fine score by Philip Glass, The Illusionist is the kind of class act that fully deserved its unusually wide and appreciative audience. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Winters Kiss on 9 Sept. 2007
Format: DVD
'Vienna, 1900:Eisenheim (Edward Norton) is a brilliant stage magician, the greatest illusionist Vienna has ever seen. When his childhood friendship with Duchess Sophie Von Teschen (Jessica Biel), now betrothed to the power-hungry Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), is rekindled he finds himself a target for the Prince's anger. As the clandestine romance continues, Leopold orders the shrewd Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti), the head of the secret police, to close down the theatre and make Eisenheim vanish. But as the net tightens around him and tragedy strikes, Eisenheim prepares to execute his greatest illusion yet'

I Love it! The basic story is of Love...new love, love lost and love found. This aspect was depicted beautifully by Edward Norton and Jessica Biel. However this is not your typical romantic film. I thought the use of 'magic', Eisenheim's young interest and quest for magic tricks/Illusions was great; culminating in his years of searching, practising and refining his magicians skills, until he completes the plea Sophie asked of him when they were young.
Breathtaking scenery, lovely plot, believable acting and a dose of illusionary magic...what more could you want!?!
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Dr Evil TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
'The Illusionist' is based in early 1900's Vienna and begins when a carpenter's son falls in love with a girl who is in a higher class to him. The two are then seperated and he then turns to the mysterious world of magic. Many years later, the boy, now a famous magician named Eisenheim, performs in theatres to the masses. When the Crown Prince hears of his talents, he wishes to see it for himself and during one of his tricks, Eisenheim is reunited with is love, but she is already engaged to the Crown Prince. He must then use his magical abilities to get her back once and for all.

This film has it all - suspense, romance, mystery, action and best of all, magic! With some fantastic performances from the lead cast - Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti and Rufus Sewell, and some amazing set pieces and special effects that had me totally engrossed in the movie from start to finish. Although this wasn't advertised as much as The Prestige (one of my favourite movies) I feel that this should have been equally praised by the critics as it is easily as brilliant as it and then some. The story kept me guessing the whole way through and had a really unexpected twist at the end.

This is without a doubt one of the best films that I've seen recently and one that I'll definitely be recommending to others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Isis X on 9 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD
This film seems to be one of those great rare finds as it is an intelligent film with a great story line, great cast and the element of keeping you guessing right to the end (and maybe even discussing afterwards!). We watch this film about every couple of months as it is one of the only films both my husband and I agree on and we still enjoy watching it every time.

Eisenheim and Sophie are both played well and you do have sympathy for Eisenheim as the story develops, he is a mysterious character. As a character you really begin to dislike the crown prince, but you really have to appreciate how well the part is played especially when you have seen the plot twists at the end of the film. My favourite character is actually the chief of police who is played perfectly.

We love the illusions and revealing to much about them could spoil the film so I will say no more about them, but you must pay attention! (I do have friends who say that they have not enjoyed this film, but I suspect that this is because a) they are not the brightest buttons in the box and b) they weren't paying attention).

All in all the film is a serious love story with some well placed humour, great for relaxing with a glass of wine.... (and now i've written the review I am going to have to watch it again myself tonight!)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. N. J. Manchester on 18 Jan. 2008
Format: DVD
This is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. The storyline is well-thoughtout and clever. It's packed with suspense and remains so until the final, closing moments of the film. Both Norton and Biel put in fantastic perfomances.
The Illusionist is neither too long nor too short, and it's one of those rare films I would like to watch again and again...
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Johnnybluetime VINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
For a Hollywood movie this has a distinctly European feel to it, no doubt partly because it is set in Vienna, but also because of some of the technical aspects.I won't say much about the plot, which despite seeming complicated is really very simple; poor boy and rich girl meet and fall in love, part, and then meet again as adults and try against all the odds to reconcile.

However, the script, direction and acting raise this far above the normal boy meets girl. Certainly this is Norton's best role since American History X and Paul Giamatti is a revelation, absolutely brilliant in the subtleties he brings to his role. Rufus Sewell too stands out and this is without doubt the best work I have seen him do, which is to say I've never really noticed him before.

The mystery keeps you glued to your seat but it's the acting that commands your attention so that by the time you reach the denoument you won't be surprised but you will be completely satisfied.A very good grown up film that isn't afraid to show its influences and though it requires your attention it repays it handsomely.Recommended
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