7.6/10
331,254
662 user 237 critic

The Illusionist (2006)

Trailer
2:33 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

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

Director:

Neil Burger

Writers:

Neil Burger (screenplay), Steven Millhauser (short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist")
Reviews
Popularity
1,275 ( 59)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Limitless I (2011)
Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Neil Burger
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel, Abbie Cornish
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Tells the story of Benjamin Button, a man who starts aging backwards with bizarre consequences.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.

Directors: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Melora Walters
The Machinist (2004)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity.

Director: Brad Anderson
Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Source Code (2011)
Mystery | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A soldier wakes up in someone else's body and discovers he's part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train. A mission he has only 8 minutes to complete.

Director: Duncan Jones
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
Primal Fear (1996)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton
The Game (1997)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After a wealthy banker is given an opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, his life is turned upside down when he becomes unable to distinguish between the game and reality.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Michael Douglas, Deborah Kara Unger, Sean Penn
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.

Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
300 (2006)
Action | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham
Zodiac (2007)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Norton ... Eisenheim
Paul Giamatti ... Inspector Uhl
Jessica Biel ... Sophie
Rufus Sewell ... Crown Prince Leopold
Eddie Marsan ... Josef Fischer (as Edward Marsan)
Jake Wood ... Jurka
Tom Fisher Tom Fisher ... Willigut
Aaron Taylor-Johnson ... Young Eisenheim (as Aaron Johnson)
Eleanor Tomlinson ... Young Sophie
Karl Johnson ... Doctor / Old Man
Vincent Franklin ... Loschek
Nicholas Blane ... Herr Doebler
Philip McGough Philip McGough ... Dr. Hofzinser
Erich Redman ... Count Rainer
Michael Carter ... Von Thurnburg
Edit

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | Czech Republic

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 September 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El ilusionista See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$927,956, 20 August 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$39,868,642

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$87,892,388
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When Sophie comes up on the stage during Eisenheim's show, she lifts the hem of her dress with one hand as she walks up the stairs. In the time this movie was set, a woman who lifted the hem of her dress with 2 hands was a prostitute. See more »

Goofs

When police officers 'offer a drink' to Eisenheim, on the building in the background is a lightning rod of modern design. 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
This is not a Review. This is only an Illusion.
21 August 2006 | by WriterDaveSee 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.


348 of 414 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 662 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed