The IllusionistDirector: Neil Burger
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A supernaturally talented magician attempts to undermine the rigid social structure of turn-of-the-century Vienna by using his powers to win the love of his upper-class, childhood sweetheart in director Neil Burger's cinematic adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser's short story. Though the ill-fated childhood romance between cabinetmaker's son Eisenheim (Edward Norton) and upper-class Sophie von Teschen (Jessica Biel) eventually resulted in the heartbroken young man leaving Austria to explore the world, his dreams of one day reuniting with the beautiful duchess never faded. Upon returning to Vienna 15 years later as a talented and renowned illusionist, Eisenheim's hopes of a reunion seem dashed when he learns that Sophie is currently engaged to the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell). As the tensions between the Eisenheim and Leopold elevate, urbane Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) finds his sympathy toward Eisenheim growing, despite his formal obligations to the powerful prince.
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- Original Release:
- 20th Century Fox
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- [Wide Screen, Color]
- [Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
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Cast & Crew
|Paul Giamatti||Chief Inspector Uhl|
|Jessica Biel||Duchess Sophie von Teschen|
|Rufus Sewell||Crown Prince Leopold|
|Eddie Marsan||Josef Fischer|
|Karl Johnson||Doctor/Old Man|
|Aaron Taylor-Johnson||Young Eisenheim|
|Eleanor Tomlinson||Young Sophie|
|Michael Bobcock||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Ngila Dickson||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Vulcan Effects||Special Effects|
|Petr Forejt||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Jane Garnett||Executive Producer|
|Philip Glass||Score Composer|
|Joey Horvitz||Executive Producer|
|Stefan Kovacik||Art Director|
|Ted Liebowitz||Executive Producer|
|Jan Mensik||Asst. Director|
|Ondrej Nekvasil||Production Designer|
|Tom Nunan||Executive Producer|
|Kieron Phipps||Asst. Director|
|Vlasta Svoboda||Art Director|
|Rudolf Tudzaroff||Special Effects Supervisor|
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Surround
Audio: Feature Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Neil Burger
Main Titles/The Arrest
The Crown Prince
A Polite Warning
"It's Not Real"
To Be With Her
"It's All A Trick"
The Orange Tree
Feature Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Neil Burger On/Off
The Making of The Illusionist
Jessica Biel on The Illusionist
Trailers: Theatrical Trailer
Trailers: Winter Passing
Trailers: Find Me Guilty
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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While this film has a number of stereotyped plot points - a peasant boy who finds his fortune, a forbidden love, a cruel ruler, a Samuel Gerard/Inspector Jovere character, and a twist ending - The Illusionist is far more than the sum of its parts. Far too few creative turn-of-the-century dramas draw popular interest these days, and The Illusionist makes the case that more should be made. Edward Norton plays a young Houdini-esque magician in Austria who wows the populace and, in the process, finds his lost love, Jessica Beale, is betrothed to a cruel nobleman who controls Paul Giamatti's penultimate, highly suspicious detective. Can the young magician save his beloved from a loveless marriage and thwart the designs of the evil prince? While the "twist" ending of the film can be figured out about halfway through by the astute film buff, even the most cynical viewer will want to stick around until the end to find exactly how the twist was accomplished. Edward Norton is superb, Jessica Beale holds her own, and Paul Giamatti is very convincing as the corrupt policeman reluctantly seeking redemption. The film's only flaw are its special effects - the early illusions pulled off by Norton's character at the beginning of The Illusionist are accomplished by rudimentary digital effects, and one wonders why the film's director didn't decide to actually accomplish "real" illusions on film and get a buzz started about the film that way. However, as the plot of the film advances and the illusions advance with it, the early effects are soon forgotten. In all, The Illusionist is a superb effort at bringing some good old-fashioned intrigue and thrills to the movies. You'd do well to check it out.
Steven Millhauser's brilliant little short story 'Eisenheim the Illusionist' is beautifully realized cinematically by Neil Burger who not only adapted the story as a screenplay but also directed with a great flair for the subject. Wisely using the repeated line 'Nothing is what it seems' Burger infuses this dark investigation into the lives of the divided Viennese classes and suggests the crumbling of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with the focus on the illusory magic of one Eisenheim (finely characterized by Edward Norton) and its effects on the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) and the bifurcated Duchess Sophie (Jessica Biel). As children Eisenheim and Sophie were friends despite the disparity of their class: Sophie was royalty (a Duchess) and Eisenheim was the son of a cabinetmaker to the court. They fall in love but are separated by caste and Eisenheim wanders Asia and Russia learning the vagaries of magic and illusionist tricks while Sophie is raised at court to become the wife of Crown Prince Leopold, whose plans to overthrow his father the Emperor to become the King of both Austria and Hungary have made him an obsessive scoundrel. Years later Eisenheim enters Vienna as a showman, under the tutelage of his impresario Josef Fischer (Eddie Marsan), delighting audiences with his illusionist tricks. His impossible love for Sophie resurfaces and he becomes suspect in his role as an illusionist and as a threat tot he Crown. Eisenheim is investigated carefully by Chief Police Inspector Uhl (a brilliant role by Paul Giamatti) and the manner in which the fates of the Crown versus the love of Eisenheim and Sophie are resolved is, well, 'Nothing is what it seems'. The cast is outstanding, the setting (in Prague) is incredibly atmospheric, and the costuming and lighting and cinematography marry into a perfect fit. Adding to the illusionist spirit of the film is the fine musical score by Phillip Glass so well loved for his score for 'The Hours' and one of our most important classical music composers of the day. THE ILLUSIONIST is a fine, misty, dark evocation of life in La Belle Époque of Vienna, based enough on fact that the fiction employs the concept that nothing is what it seems. Grady Harp
The Illusionist film is a movie that my husband first introduced me to around 2006/2007 when we were living in Florida and it was great to watch the Illusionist together again this week. The Illusionist features a movie trailer to Gray Matters and the movie itself is a deep and complicated history between the characters of Duchess Sophie Von Teschen (Jessica Biel) and Eisenheim The Illusionist (Edward Norton). Duchess Sophie Von Teschen is set to marry the emotionally cold but intellectually gifted Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell). I do completely accept that Sewell was just putting his best in the role, it was just that I was extremely shocked by how his Prince Leopold character is required to treat Eisenheim’s character and that of his wife Sophie so abrasively just because he can. Chief Inspector Walter Uhl (Paul Giamatti) is Crown Prince Leopold’s right hand man who is required to start spying on Eisenheim after a witness tattles on Eisenheim and Duchess Sophie immediately after they are spotted simply just talking in a carriage together.
Highly entertaining. One of my favorite movies
This is one of the best movies I've seen in a while. Very well done.
Fans of American Movie Classics & Turner Classic Movies will love this movie. A classic movie with a great storyline, no unnecessary violence, nudity or obsencities. Worth watching at least twice.
The first of two wide release movies involving Magicans. Filmed in and around Prague. Stunningly beautiful. Prince Leopold is always one breath away from exploding in an angry tirade. The story is seductive and Giamotti, Norton, and Biel are all well cast. A foreign film that will be very much at home in any American living room or video collection. Norton will win the women's hearts, while Biel is magic as his childhood love. If you own Chocolat you'll want this film.
I watched this movie right after viewing 'The Prestige' (kind of a magician/illusionist overload). While both movies were wonderful, 'The Illusionist' seemed to have a different feeling and overall tone to it. It was filmed beautifully (it looked like an older film), the acting was wonderful, and the ending of the film was spot on! I highly recommend this movie :)
This movie does move slow at times, but it's all worth it for the ending. Great movie, great acting. See this one.
you have two movies with theme and story on magic. the illusionist i liked and as always norton does an aweesome job, giamatti was not bad himself and biel was a surprise but did an alright job. when they were showing the flashback to when they were kids, did anyone else get a reminder feeling of lord of the rings, the younger version of eisenhem looked like frodo even his clothes seemed like frodos. anyway this is about the illusionist and his love for sophie who is engaged to another who has secrets of his own who i didn't recognize with a beard after seeing him clean shaven in dark city. the prestige on the other hand was interesting and kinda confusing than this one but love love bale and jackman...bowie was a surprise like luke wilson in 3 10 to yuma. the prestige is the story of two magicians and the competition of being the best and etc. both movies are good and have their twist ending. i wonder why people thought the prestige was a "sequel" to batman begins when it clearly wasn't?
Wow. This movie was so beautifully shot and well acted. I didn't predict the ending, but I wasn't trying to predict it because I was so caught up in the sheer mystical and gorgeous quality of the film itself. The score by Phillip Glass was sensual and moody. Everyone keeps comparing this film to Prestige. I watched them back to back and there is no comparison. This is a much better movie. The stories are completely different, I'm not really sure why the two films keep getting compared in reviews. I thought the Illusionist was a visual feast with a great story and wonderful acting, especially by Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti.
The Illusionist works on so many levels. It is one of the most romantic films I've seen and also one of the most mysterious. Throw in the history of Austria and their nobility and you have a great,compelling film with very good acting by everyone in the cast.
this movie never kept you wondering until the very end when everything was spilled out before you. It is about an illusionist named Eisenheim. The movie first tells about his past and then goes on to tell about the preasent. I love the way they presented everything in this movie. All the actors were great, everything. There were many twists, and if you don't understand what happens at the end i suggest you watch it again. when i did, it helped out a bunch and i loved it even more. however, i still am certain that the first time you watch it will be the best because you don't know the ending. There are magic tricks in this movie, romance, and many other things that make it great. Rent it, buy it, borrow it, do whatever you can to get it. You won't be disappointed.
This film was made in the same year as The Prestige (another gem) and Spoof, and all three films have magic as their main theme. I have seen the Illusionist twice and both times, I liked it. It is set in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and though a love story (and a very sweet one at that), it is truly about magic and how it can change our perception of the reality. Edward Norton is superb, as always. Jessica Biel is very good as well, I think she would have made a fine Austrian princess and Rufus Sewell is excellent - that guy can play bad boys. Paul Giamatti is a grand favourite of mine, and once again he delivers. The film was shot in Prague (although it is supposed to be set in Vienna), and the photography is amazing. The plot is very clever, and the ending is great.
When I first heard of this movie i didnt expect much of it. but as soon as I started wathing I couldn't simply take my eyes of the screen. It's a great movie, great story, great actors, great picture. As soon as I was done I wanted to watch it again.
If you like this genre, this movie is wonderful. The plot moves along and the acting, especially by Giamatti and Norton, is exceptional. However, the twist is fairly visible early on unlike the Prestige. If you are looking for a great magician movie, The Prestige is a better choice.
I didn't know what to expect when I saw this movie... I had heard nothing about it nor seen any trailers for it. From the first scene, I was a bit sceptical but I was quickly drawn in. Ed Norton's Eisenheim was brilliant and the illusions were amazing. The love he had for Sophie "Jessica Biel" was heart warming, this love he carried for her since they were kids. I was so caught up in the story that I didn't even see the end coming. Great movie, great cast!
THE ILLUSIONIST, is now one of my favorite movies....it is great and you will never get bored..it kept me anxious for the next move and awaiting every chapter! great movie
I have been waiting for a movie like this ever since I read Mr. Strange and Dr. Norell. This movie was wonderful and I highly recommend it to all. This was PG-13? No way. PG at the most. Good heavens they rated SAW II PG-13 and you KNOW that has got to be wrong just from the commercials.