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The Illusionist (2006)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 244,427 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 634 user | 234 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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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

When Prince Leopold is approached by Inspector Uhl, while hunting, to inform him of Eisenheim and Sophie's meetings, the Prince asks what they were seen doing together. The line about if they were seen "fornicating" was originally filmed as him saying "fucking" instead. They dubbed in the word "fornicating" to avoid an R-Rating in compliance with the MPAA's policy that the f-word not be used in reference to intercourse in a PG-13 film. See more »

Goofs

At around the 20:17 mark, When Inspector Uhl is inspecting the props backstage, Eisenheim has his arms at his side during their conversation. Then suddenly he is facing the inspector at a different angle and his arms are crossed. 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

 
This is not a Review. This is only an Illusion.
21 August 2006 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

"The Illusionist" is a unique film that combines two often stale genres into something fresh: the lush romantic period piece and the "AHA!" mystery thriller (a genre M. Night Shamalyan has single-handedly run into the ground recently). Helmed by a first time director (Neil Burger), based on a short story, and featuring an eclectic cast, "The Illusionist" had the perfect set-up to be a monumental disaster. With a graceful slight-of-hand, it ends up being something very good.

As with any run-of-the-mill period piece, there's a lavish attention to the set designs and costumes, here representing late nineteenth century Vienna. Director Burger puts a nice spin on the same-old, same-old with an acute attention to lighting (especially in the dreamily over-exposed flashbacks) and old fashioned camera techniques (witness the circular camera's eye closing to transition from scenes) to give the film the feel of being a fond memory of a classic movie from a bygone era.

The central romance where Edward Norton's title character and Jessica Biel's Dutchess are star-crossed lovers kept apart because of class and society, had all the makings of a snore-inducing cheese-athon. Executed in an understated manner that services the greater plot, it ends up being anything but. Norton's performance, especially in the second half of the film when he turns into a man of very few words, had the potential to be one-note. As an actor, he speaks volumes with his eyes. Biel, a former teen idol and TV star, seemed a horrific choice for this role. She pulls of the nifty trick of being quite good. Even better are Rufus Sewell as the tyrannical crown-prince and Paul Giamatti as the chief inspector. Using a short story as the source material, characterizations had the potential to be paper-thin, but these seasoned veterans make the most of their lines and scenes adding terror, humor, and gravitas through their vocal and physical deliveries where lesser actors would've been wooden and cold. The entire cast also worked together very well utilizing their odd, vaguely European and aristorcatic accent. Everyone used it so consistently and earnestly, it didn't seem to matter after awhile that the accent was unnecessary.

A more over-eager or pretentious director may have completely sabotaged the fantastic ending to "The Illusionist" and cheated the audience. Handled deftly by Burger, the grande finale where "all is revealed" is a wholly organic and satisfying conclusion that rewards the patient viewer and fulfills the lofty promises of the themes presented throughout the work.

"The Illusionist" boasts an excellent music score from minimalist composer Phillip Glass that easily rivals his great work done in "Candyman" and "The Hours." Norton and Giamatti treat us to some of the best "staring" since the days of silent films. The look on Giamatti's face and the positioning of his raised eyebrows as he watches Norton perform his illusions coupled with Norton's eyes as he pulls off his tricks are priceless.


322 of 382 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Did anybody else was impressed by Rufus Sewell's performance? Reachthesilence
Who else solved the movie's twist, Before the film ended?? steph_vp88
Destruction of irreplaceable antiques for this movie morganseer
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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