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The Illusionist [2006] - 11.98

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 (av rating: 4.0):

Rating: 2:
Y A W N ................. : Well as you can see not exactly a thrilling film but a beautiful location and real sense of the period.
I just could not become even the slightest bit enthralled by the proceedings and fell asleep somewhere near the last 15 minutes or so.

I am afraid it was all rather boring , not a bad film in that sense , just dull........

Rating: 3:
The Illusionist - Disillusioned more like it !!!! : If you have problems sleeping I suggest you rent this film. The start is so slow that you will be asleep in no time. I enjoyed the calm, relaxing lighting of the film, which only aided in getting me to sleep. However I stuck with the film with heavy eyelids.

It's one of those films that you just dont care what happens next, and hope the ending will make it all worth while, luckily the ending finally delivers, after the torture of such a slow paced film.

Edward Norton is a first class actor, but this role was just not 'meaty' enough for such a superb actor. American History X showed us what great acting Norton is capable of. This film turned Norton into a depressed British Paul Daniels with a very dodgy hairy beard.

It's not a bad film, if the start and middle had a bit more energy, it would have a great film.

Rating: 3:
Could have been more : This is a beautiful looking film. The cinematography is excellent throughout. Also the performances are very good from all of the cast. But for me there was just something missing and I felt the pace of the film was just too slow.

As for the 'plot twist', anyone who didn't see it coming should really see a few more movies or read a few more books. Very predictable which just added to the slow pace. I wanted it to finish about 15 mins before it actually did.

Rating: 5:
Excellent : A mixed bag of reviews.
My wife and I enjoyed the film very much, I thought it was going to be a boring costume type drama, but I was very wrong, My wife said it is the best film she has seen in a long time.
It was probably a little laboured half way through but stay with it.
If I was to have one moan, the film appears to be filmed in candle light and some scenes were lost in shadows, I`m sure this is made to give the film a feel of the times.
A well acted and enjoyable film, watch it, and be amazed by The Illusionist

Rating: 1:
generous 1 star........... : Where to start.......... this film is VERY poor, as soon as the flashback started I knew exactly what was coming this film was bum numbingly dull!!!
I was expecting more after seeing The Prestige but sadly it flopped BIG time the cast was a YAWN who ever thinks ed norton can act needs shooting! the whole cast should be ashamed FILM IS set in a foreign counrty & yet ALL SPEAK NORMAL DAY TO DAY AMERICAN COME ON!!!!!!!!! atleast try, have a stab at the accent PLEASE....... still the whole cast were guilty for lack of effort, the script was dull, story oh so seen it done much MUCH better so many times before no surprises at all the illisions were cgi poo not impressive at all if anyone wants to see an impressive film with 'magic or illusions' i suggest without a doubt The Prestige it will entertain you & impress far more than this pile of hot dung!

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