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Glad i made the choice...... - 15/3/2007 12:36:31 PM   
JimBo!

 

Posts: 35
Joined: 23/2/2007
From: Brighton/Hove
to see this instead of Ghost Rider. Although the illusionist dragged on in certain parts it was however a well made nad well acted film with plenty going for it.

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Post #: 31
Worth watching - 15/3/2007 7:47:21 PM   
Fox B Forsyth

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 31/7/2006
This is a worthwhile watch, a good cast, well acted and directed and a good climax. I spotted the twist early on, but it still held my attention.
Biel is a fox and acquits herself well. Although Norton is great his accent grated slightly by the end. Definitely worth a couple of hours of your life....

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Post #: 32
- 17/3/2007 9:36:24 PM   
MargetisKicksAss

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 15/3/2007
After seeing such a disappointing piece of garbage like 'The Black Dahlia' last night, I was really praying that the next film I'd see this weekend would be better. Towards the beginning of the film I had my doubts due to it's semi-lagging pace, but once it sped-up and ended, I realized I just saw one of the best films of the year, thus far. 'The Illusionist' is not only a compelling and very well made motion picture, it's a throughly enjoyable one as well.


Edward Norton, after taking a huge break, comes back to film as Eisenheim, a very famous and mysterious magician in turn-of-the-century Vienna. Eisenheim is a very articulate magician who is anything but arrogant. After impressing pretty much every citizen in Vienna including a bumbling police inspector played by Paul Giamatti, the prince of Vienna played by Dark City's Rufus Sewell comes to one of Eisenheim's shows. It is there where Eisenheim lays his eyes on the Prince's soon to be wife, Sophie (Jessica Biel), whom he had fallen in love with ten to twenty years prior. That's about all I'll tell you about the plot of 'The Illusionist', in fear I may give something away. It's a film that should be experienced without a lot of prior knowledge about the plot. Just remember it's a period piece about a magician.


'The Illusionist', the second film by Neil Burger, is a masterfully crafted film. Although it has it's flaws like being poorly paced at the beginning and a little bit towards the middle, the film captivates it's audiences once it starts going and doesn't let go. Burger's directing is well-done, but it's his writing that one should admire the most out of the two. The film is filled with first-rate performances all around, which one could argue is the strongest aspect of it. Edward Norton delivers yet another incredible performance as Eisenheim. He makes the character his own bringing this strange sense of warmness to Eisenheim I feel couldn't have been done by many other actors. Paul Giamatti is mar

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Post #: 33
RE: - 18/3/2007 11:38:14 AM   
princessa


Posts: 734
Joined: 6/6/2006
I quite enjoyed this film.  It was beautifully shot and well acted.  Edward Norton, Rufus Sewell and Paul Giamatti were g8 as usual.  The only weak link was Jessica Biel but to be fair she doesn't have much to do in this film.  The twist in the end wasn't a jump out of your seat moment or that shocking but i did find it quite clever if alittle far fetched.
 
My main criticism of this film was the love story.  I know that in the end it is central to the plot but to begin with i just didn't buy into it.  The fact that Edward Norton and Jessica Biel were childhood sweethearts and then years later they meet - (highlight - may contain spoilers) within a few days they are in bed together and planning to run away just didn't make any sense to me.  The love story should have been built up more then i would have believed in it more. 
 
Also why does Edward Norton hate the prince so much?  Okay so Rufus Sewell's prince is evil but apart from that?  That didn't make much sense to me that he would come back from years away and decide to try and destroy a crown prince because he is bad.
 
Still a good film, i loved the effects and the scenes on stage were good.

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Post #: 34
Dark and intriguing adult fantasy - 21/3/2007 1:55:20 PM   
britesparc


Posts: 2061
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Manchester
Like Pan’s Labyrinth before it, The Illusionist is probably best described as an adult fairy tale. However, unlike Pan, there’s far less metaphor and imagery going on to deepen or broaden the film’s scope; however, there’s also far less cheek-slicing and fairy-eating, too. Seeming to take place almost in a fictionalised turn of the century Vienna, the film’s photography lends the realistic period décor an otherworldly quality – all gas-lit, washed out and moody. This subdued palette, coupled with the creepy, ghostly shenanigans, makes it feel reminiscent to The Sixth Sense or The Others, as does the tricksy ending. However, it’s more than capable of standing up on its own. First and foremost, it is a love story: the sort of tragic love fairy tales are built on. Norton’s Eisenheim has his true love stolen from him from the wicked Prince, and uses his ingenious powers to seek revenge or, at least, justice. It could almost be a Great War-era superhero story. Eisenheim’s tricks get under the skin, and director Neil Burger does a very good job of conveying the atmosphere of a stage-bound illusionist. As the tricks get trickier, and the potential ramifications more serious – and Eisenheim potentially ventures into darker, more sinister trickery – the atmosphere gets thicker, and clouds seem to be permanently gathered overhead. It’s a beautiful film, evoking the period in both sound and vision. It’s similarly served by some great performances: Norton is captivating as Eisenheim, perfectly treading the very fine line between making Eisenheim enigmatic and mysterious, whilst avoiding tipping him over into being outright sinister; Giamatti, as the chief inspector entangled in the Prince’s plot, is as wonderful to watch as he always is. Where the film falls down, arguably, is in its resolution; whilst the climax is suitably entertaining, the necessity of making Eisenheim’s tricks mysterious means the audience is also left scratching their heads. Ambiguity is not a bad thing in and of itself, of course, and the film is perfect fodder for a pub dissection, but in trying to have its mysterious cake and eat it revealingly, it may have bitten off more than it can chew. Overall, however, it’s a beautiful little film, and well worth seeing.

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Post #: 35
RE: Dark and intriguing adult fantasy - 21/3/2007 3:03:17 PM   
desibeo


Posts: 161
Joined: 24/12/2005
I'm surprised that nobody (that I noticed) has suggested that the 'twist ending' was perhaps an illusion (or delusion) in itself.

It seemed obvious to me that the "reveal" was entirely in Giamatti's head. He was piecing things together and was convinced that _that_ was what had actually happened, but in fact we (the audience) do not know. It could be that the girl _had_ died. The "real" answer is not revealed to us -no more than with any other illusion in the movie (more or less).

I didn't have a problem with the 'cheating' cgi. Afterall, such 'tricks' must be somewhat credible to today's audiences as much as to the more gullible crowds of the day, so in that sense, if we had seen the wires, etc. it would have spoilt things in another way.

The most unbelievable aspect to the plot (and the main one that spoilt it for me) is Giamatti's character himself. It's simply beyond possibility for my mind to grasp the notion that he could have gotten to where he was and still actually give a damn about whether the crown prince had murdered anyone or not. The movie would have been better if there was a 'third' character who works things out (for right or wrong) at the end, rather than the ambitious man who is trying to be chief of police.







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Post #: 36
RE: Dark and intriguing adult fantasy - 23/3/2007 11:06:32 AM   
mrdoom14


Posts: 1774
Joined: 14/10/2006
From: Scotland
The story is fairly simple about a romance beetween a push rich girl and a less classy man who can perform magical tricks. With the impresive magic tricks, the superb performances and the surprising twist we get a sparkling slice of entertainment.  

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Post #: 37
RE: Dark and intriguing adult fantasy - 29/3/2007 9:57:10 AM   
Fiona Courtney

 

Posts: 20
Joined: 21/11/2005
Hmm, could be - I hadn't thought of that. I'm just amazed that everyone else seems to have thought the twist was obvious. Not to me it wasn't. Maybe I'm just thick, but I thought the film was heading in a different direction entirely. I thought we were heading into misunderstood miracle-worker territory, because there was a scene where Eisenheim was being goaded to do his tricks, and he had this patient, you-don't-understand look on his face that reminded me of Jesus at the court of King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar.
I was really surprised when we saw the notebook about the orange tree, and then saw the flashbacks to how it was all done, or might have been done. I felt a bit disappointed then, really. I'd been ready to believe it had all been real. I think that mainly that's because a real illusionist would have been a more tricksy character. Eisenheim seemed too deep, too thoughtful to be just playing tricks.

Fiona

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Post #: 38
RE: Dark and intriguing adult fantasy - 29/3/2007 10:13:46 AM   
desibeo


Posts: 161
Joined: 24/12/2005
I believe the film allows for that interpretation, Fiona. The 'reveal' was all in the Giamatti character's head. Maybe that was real -or maybe it was an illusion (or delusion), in which case it could be possible that Eisenheim's illusions were 'real'.






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Post #: 39
RE: Dark and intriguing adult fantasy - 29/3/2007 7:51:10 PM   
HitchHiker


Posts: 287
Joined: 26/2/2006
Looks like I'm in the minority here, but I thought The Illusionist was awful. It was boring, long drawn out, the acting was pretty bad with the exception of Paul Giamatti. The plot seemed to wander along, not really sure of where it was going. The twist at the end seemed forced, as if they were trying too hard to make a clever ending. Very disappointing.
The magic tricks were enjoyable though.


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Post #: 40
RE: The Illusionist - 13/4/2007 6:58:18 PM   
Casserine


Posts: 72
Joined: 6/1/2006
There's a scene just at the end of The Illusionist in which Chief Inspector Uhl, played by a likable Paul Giamatti, suddenly gains understanding of what has just happened in the previous two hours. Standing in the middle of a crowded train station, he breaks into a wide grin, confident that all has explained to him. The mystery is solved. He is enlightened. It's not unlike the end of "The Usual Suspects”, when the detective figures out who Keyser Soze is. Except for one minor detail. The audience are still left completely in the dark and instead of feeling enlightened, I just felt irritated.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe the plot was too complicated, maybe I wasn't paying attention as carefully as I should have been. But, leaving my possible stupidity out of the equation, the ending to The Illusionist is still an unsatisfactory pill to swallow. We have been completely duped by Edward Norton's unblinking Eisenhiem, but as good as a magician as he is, he fails to address the fact that unless we have some way of riddling out the clues ourselves, half the fun is gone.

The Illusionist is a gothic fairytale set in early 20th century Vienna. Edward Norton plays Eisenhiem, a tall, slender, brooding man with a penchant for magic tricks. More then a penchant, I suppose – this guy enthralls audiences with his set pieces, conjuring up orange trees out of thin air, making handkerchiefs disappear and reappear and he also does a mean "Sword-in-the-Stone” trick that has the local royals fuming. In the voiceover narration, sparingly done by Chief Inspector Uhl (so sparingly I actually forgot there was a VO to begin with and when he suddenly started narrating again halfway through the movie I became momentarily confused) we are told Eisenheim's backstory, in the years when he was just a young boy who fell in love with a girl of a higher social class. Inevitably Edward (as he was then known) and Sophie are torn apart by the adults in their lives, and a depressed Eisenheim falls into the world of magic and trickery, before leaving his village to travel the world and perfect his craft. So far, so predictable. Philip Glass' thunderous score jumping in at impromptu moments should serve to accentuate the tension and danger, instead it merely draws attention to the fact that the acting in these flashback scenes is so woefully bad that we don't really care if Eisenheim never sees his childhood love again. But hey, this is Hollywood, and so she eventually walks back into his life - and onto his stage. Back in present day (well, the present day of the film) an older Sophie (played, almost convincingly, by Jessica Biel) is volunteered by her latest flame, the Prince of Vienna (a ridiculously coiffured Rufus Sewell) to accompany Eisenheim onstage in one of his tricks. Thus, the pair are reunited and the old embers of love begin to reignate. Rufus Sewell is having none of it though, and demonstrates his anger by doing one of two expressions: "Glass-Eyed Monotone” or "Scary Glass-Eyed Fury”.

The ending and Rufus Sewell are two of the things I liked least about The Illusionist. There were also plenty of things I really enjoyed about it, mainly the cinematography. Or, as I put it to my sister upon leaving the cinema, "wow, pretty colours!”. Monochrome street scenes tinged with golden light, the flickering candle intensity of the magic shows, the almost technicolour glory of the train station, this is an extremely aesthethicly pleasing film. The quibbles I have with Philip Glass are fairly minor; he does tend to copy himself an awful lot and sometimes his scores are too overbearing ("Strings! Descending piano scales! Strings! Intensity! Pulsing strings!”), but that doesn't change the fact I really dig his music. Even though I think he needs to borrow "Film Music For Dummies” from his local library and give it a quick thumb. I wouldn't discourage people from seeing this in the cinema. The presence of Edward Norton alone should be enough to entice many people to purchase a ticket and his performance is a treat. While his accent took me a little while to get used to, I quickly became accustumed to his mannered, strange way of speaking and totally believed in his character. It's a fairly well-made, pretty production and even if the ending leaves you scratching your head/shaking it in disgust, it's guarunteed better than Norbit.


< Message edited by Casserine -- 13/4/2007 7:00:23 PM >


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RE: Glad i made the choice...... - 13/4/2007 8:26:56 PM   
curtain twitcher


Posts: 4816
Joined: 9/4/2007
From: The Hotel California
When i first heard about it i thought it was going to be a copy of The Prestige. How half wrong i was. (It was just a little bit like The Prestige though wasn't it?) I thought this was actually quite a good film regardless. Edward Norton was superb as usual and all the other performances were pretty solid too. I think Empire's review of the film might have been a tad harsh but their still seems to be something missing in this film. It's just not as good as The Prestige, but still very enjoyable nonetheless!

< Message edited by curtain twitcher -- 13/4/2007 8:28:22 PM >


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Post #: 42
Disappointing - 25/4/2007 10:36:52 PM   
Caster


Posts: 5612
Joined: 30/9/2005
Even if I hadn't seen the (far superior) Prestige, The Illusionist suffers from a twist that can be guessed in the first five minutes. Norton is his usual hypnotising self (no pun intended) but the plot requires him to take a back seat for the second half and he is sorely missed. A beautifully shot tale, but rather too simple for today's audiences.

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Post #: 43
- 1/7/2007 6:47:24 AM   
zuzino

 

Posts: 7
Joined: 7/10/2006
A more simple yet more enjoyable film than The Prestige in my opinion and will probably stay in my mind a lot loner than The Prestige did. A film does not always need many twists to keep me happy, plus the illusions which occurred in the film kept me glued to my screen.

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Post #: 44
A Prestige that leaves the audience breathless - 13/7/2007 8:25:48 PM   
ella_dynamite

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 6/12/2006
Despite being released so soon after The Prestige, The Illusionist appears strickingly different in compariosn.
The ending has the most power, which I personally did not see coming until the last moment. But in order to create such drama, setting the pieces out on the board is the tricky part; a part most successfully achieved by Nick Burger.
Even before the secret is revealed the audience finds themselves questioning the reality and the sensibility of Norton's character especially as dramatic events begin to unfold. The calm pace of the film is instrumental in its making, as only when nearing the end do you begin to consider why it has taken so long to get there.
Norton is excellent as the central character, making a rare appearance as the good guy, expressing his full talents to spectacularly seize the attention of his audience.
The result is a well-structered film with solid central characters that carry the story through to the conclusion with effortless control.

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Post #: 45
A Delicious Film With A Juicy Twist - 19/11/2007 5:57:58 PM   
bethie777

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 19/11/2007
A delicate film with an enticing plot and believable special effects - along with superb acting from Edward Norton and Jessica Biel. The serene music and dreamy camera shots really give a feel of warm nostalgia. I thouroughly enjoyed this film and although I was releuctant at first to watch it, I am very pleased I did as it would have been a sore miss-out otherwise.
From Beth C.H, age 15

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Post #: 46
- 3/3/2008 5:09:03 PM   
swordsandsandals


Posts: 12571
Joined: 6/1/2006
From: A magical forest
I'll write a full review later, but just submitting my thoughts before I get down to it. Not quite the prestige, but still pretty damn good.

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Post #: 47
- 18/4/2010 2:27:49 PM   
Blue Ryan

 

Posts: 185
Joined: 31/7/2008
I don't usuallly do this but i am in fact reviewing the review here. Olly Richards, this is a perfect review with everything perfectly described without giving a way a single detail in the plot.

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Post #: 48
- 26/12/2010 3:09:12 PM   
mollymoosh

 

Posts: 8
Joined: 22/10/2010
I can't quite believe that Empire only gave this film 3 stars! It's th best film I've seen in a long time and I go to the cinema around twice a week!

I'm not a fan of magic tricks, in fact I hate them and think they are pointless but "The Illusionist" is competely different and so clever. The love story was great and as a souless rom com hater I reveled in their passion and desire to be together despite all the costs.

The Illusionist himself is great, I actually think he is quite likable in an unconventional way. All he wants is his childhood sweetheart and the way in which he does so is very unpredictable and clever. Another thing on my groan list is period films, but the parisian dated film is fabulous and earns the film five stars from me.

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Post #: 49
RE: The Illusionist - 12/5/2012 7:08:05 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
The Illusionist (2006)

Its funny, you don't see any films about magicians then all of a sudden two pop up in the same year, how does that work? We had the same deal with 'Dante's Peak' and 'Volcano' also 'Armageddon' and 'Deep Impact'...weird huh.

Anyhow this magic show is period set as is 'The Prestige' only this time we are in Vienna at the turn of the century. The plot is a mixture of a love story, a who dunnit? and magic all entwined within the rich lavish world of Austrian royalty.

The film simply popped up out of nowhere and my first impression was a cheap low budget equal to 'The Prestige' which was quite a big hit, I was amazed when it turned out to be such a rewarding film. The cast are all excellent here and fit beautifully into this decadent setting, Norton, Sewell, Giamatti, Biel and Marsan, all brilliant, what more can I say. I probably enjoyed Sewell as 'Prince Leopold' the most with his unhinged delicate state, jealousy and fury in his eyes as he loses the plot.

The plot is intriguing but does seem to do a 'Usual Suspects' spin towards the end, your average twist which you can sense was coming but fun to watch none the less. The film is a joy to watch simply down to the lovely work on sets, costumes, location and the magic tricks of which the main ones are assisted with cgi methinks which is a shame but still mysterious.

I guess the whole film or story is suppose to be one big magic trick or illusion really, one big puff of hocus pocus as the main lead wins the day and his love in a swirling mist of deception. Visually stunning, realistic? yes, not bad a tall...I can taste the strudel, superbly well performed and very enjoyable but maybe a little simpler than it was meant to be. 

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Post #: 50
The illusionist - 27/11/2012 3:17:14 AM   
SPassariello9

 

Posts: 3
Joined: 27/3/2012
A film that is well worth the watch. Although the plot twist may leave you not as bedazzled as you may like due to its simplicity, it is beautifully shot and still engaging. Nortan plays the role triumphantly which helped make the film as engaging as it was. The lack of the 'wow factor' twist was the downfall and more could have been done yet it still left itself as a good watch.

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Post #: 51
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