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The Illusionist (2006)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 241,564 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 631 user | 233 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.

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(screenplay), (short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist")
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Title: The Illusionist (2006)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Josef Fischer (as Edward Marsan)
...
Jurka
Tom Fisher ...
Willigut
...
Young Eisenheim (as Aaron Johnson)
...
...
Doctor / Old Man
Vincent Franklin ...
Loschek
...
Herr Doebler
Philip McGough ...
Dr. Hofzinser
...
Count Rainer
Michael Carter ...
Von Thurnburg
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Storyline

In late nineteenth century Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim is reunited with the Duchess von Teschen when she is volunteered from the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances. Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognize each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, they who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences. The Duchess is soon to be wed to the Crown Prince Leopold in what would be for him a marriage solely in pursuit of power: overthrowing his father, the Emperor Leopold, as well as overtaking the Hungarian side of the empire. The Crown Prince is known to use violence against women if it suits his needs or purposes. As such, the Duchess, who realizes that she still loves Eisenheim and he her, can never leave the Crown Prince without it jeopardizing her life. After Eisenheim humiliates the Crown Prince at a private show which results in an ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing is what it seems


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El ilusionista  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£675,293 (UK) (2 March 2007)

Gross:

£161,900 (UK) (20 August 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The method for creating the ghosts as shown to inspector Uhl involved the projection of a pre-recorded image into a hazy background. Since the ghosts Eisenheim conjured could speak to and interact with the audience, he most likely used a different method popular among magicians at that time. A fantascope was used to illuminate a real person off stage. The image was reflected off of a mirror or glassplate, creating a ghosted image. The lanterns that Eisenheim tells his assistants to leave behind when they are packing up the workshop bear a strong resemblance to fantascopes. See more »

Goofs

At the train station, the green trains have large, white, bold lettering in Helvetica, a font invented in 1957. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
woman in audience: It's her. I know it's her! She wants to tell us something.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.184 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

The Illusionist
(uncredited)
Composed by Philip Glass
Performed by Michael Riesman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Like the Moody Blues song asks--"real or just an illusion?"
9 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Kind of a strange movie but very original and entertaining! It was a Gothic-romance period-piece drama-mystery, and quirky characters and a bizarre--or at least unusual--plot held my interest.

Edward Norton's character plays an inscrutable but romantic master illusionist. But is he just a master illusionist or has he developed powers to effect the creepy conjuring of those who have passed on? (Regardless, the guy is so easy on the eyes.)

Jessica Biel is beautiful and good in her role but I couldn't help thinking, "Hey, Jessica, Scarlett Johanssen called. She wants her lips back."

Paul Giamatti bothered me just a tad at first because he spoke in a near-whisper and had a scruffy beard so you couldn't read his lips. He got louder and his character developed pretty darned well, thank goodness. Actually, he was fantastic (so what else is new?).

The makers of this movie did the same thing the makers of Little Miss Sunshine did--made me want to see the film twice, but for different reasons: LMS because the first time I saw it, I laughed so hard I cried, and I really needed a laugh again (and got it); The Illusionist because I was like the audience for the title character's shows the first time I saw it--just kind of naive and awed and staring up at the action with my mouth hanging open. So I'll have to see it again and pay attention. Kind of like when my daughter told me to go see The Sixth Sense again and pay attention to what Bruce Willis's character was wearing. (Plot-wise, this is unrelated, folks--just a movie watcher's analogy.)

At first, the old-fashioned circle wipes seemed a little distracting, but in retrospect, they were part of the excellent movie-making decisions that created the illusion of time and place in this film. A really good story with really good art direction and really good actors, costumes and settings. Definitely worth a go-see--or two!


119 of 177 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Did anybody else was impressed by Rufus Sewell's performance? Reachthesilence
Destruction of irreplaceable antiques for this movie morganseer
Who else solved the movie's twist, Before the film ended?? steph_vp88
7.7 - WTF! rogermccarthy
Illusions performed in this film are historically accurate! kjs-2
The 'twist' could be anticipated mid-way katochnr
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