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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2008
'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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on 9 September 2007
'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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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2007
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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on 9 September 2011
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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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 February 2017
Adapted from a short story by Steven Millhauser, I found this period film of escapism (in more ways than one) thoroughly enjoyable.

Set in 1900’s Vienna, Edward Norton plays the talented illusionist Eisenheim, who met and fell in love with Sophie (played by Jessica Biel) as a boy.
They were forced apart because she was of noble birth, whereas he was the son of a carpenter.
But they meet up again 15 years later when Eisenheim has learned the Illusionist craft and Sophie is now a Duchess, and due to become engaged to Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) as part of his plan to depose his father.

The meeting rekindles the strong childhood love which has never really diminished, but the Prince is determined that Eisenheim should be crushed and uses his tame police Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) to pursue that end.

A very refreshing change in film type for me. Whether true to period or not, the costumes and surroundings were interesting, all the actors I have mentioned played their parts very well, and the illusions were different from many seen today.
Of course, we know that these illusions are definitely down to camera tricks and acting, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable, and the ‘ultimate illusion’ which forms the latter part of the story line is well thought through.
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on 18 January 2008
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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on 17 November 2016
A truly rare thing these days, a truly perfectly crafted tale, whose slow pace is nevertheless choreographed to keep the attention all the way through. A perfect example of how momentum is nothing to do with speed. Beautifully acted throughout, well cast, costumed and set. Really can't find fault except in myself - wondering why I didn't notice it before
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on 22 July 2016
Poetic, surprising, magnificent movie. Ed Norton is at his best. Impressive supporting cast. The image is beautiful. The dialogues are superb. Great music. Kudos to the director for a superior work of art.
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on 15 February 2008
I write Derren Brown because if you're at familiar with his illusions and goatee you may raise a smile at Ed Nortons character especially during the onstage segments of the film.

It's hard not compare this with The Prestige (which I rated higher) both period set dramas, both have a twist both have central characters who are magicians, both films were released round the same time.

Down to the review.
I was impressed with Rufus Sewell who conveyed power and menace without hamming it up. Ed Norton does a solid job but I felt no particular emotion for the character. The director keeps us guessing and not letting us in on the secret and only at the end do threads fall in to place..or do they? As we view the story from one particular point of view, after all he could be wrong?

In a nutshell. It's not bad. It's not great either. It is a pleasant way to spend 90minutes or so.
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on 3 August 2007
I saw this film as soon as came out on DVD after falling for Edward Norton in "the painted veil". The thought of seeing Edward Norton in a romantic role was enough to guarantee my interest.

The film is about a famous illusionist who loves a woman he cannot have as she is betrothed to a powerful Duke. The film follows them rediscovering their childhood love and how they try to be together. The illusions themselves were based on real life illusions I believe, but these are not the focus of the film, their relationship is.

The supporting cast is good and the story is a unique one, with various twists and turns along the way. I didn't particularly like the way it was shot, all moody and dark, but it did give the effect of watching an old movie, all sepia tones etc.

Overall it was a great film which I would recommend to anyone.
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