With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access one hundred percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.
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
I am a long time fan of the old theatre magicians and have been fascinated by the wave of spiritualism that swept both continents around the turn of the last century. This movie plays off those real life happenings, with the added twist of court and political intrigue. The movie is lush - as a period piece should be - with terrific performances from a true ensemble cast. Edward Norton has the charismatic gaze that makes you believe in every thing he does. Jennifer Biel is tragic and compelling as a woman trapped by society and dubious duty. Paul Giamatti - who seems to be in every other movie these days - is wonderful as a conflicted man unsure of whom he serves. Rufus Sewell, as the Crown Prince Leopold, is that man, and he embodies the boo-hiss villain. Vain and driven, he is larger than life and not one to cross, as the illusionist comes to find out. The music of Philip Glass fits the scenes and add just the right amount of tension. Plus the horses are very old world with large hooves and a heck of a lot of presence. A compelling and beautiful film.
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