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
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 »
The coins the Illusionist gives the poor children each have a ring surrounding a differently colored disc. The technology to make those coins is only a few decades old. They're Czech 50 heller coins, introduced in 1993. See more »
woman in audience:
It's her. I know it's her! She wants to tell us something.
See more »
Eisenheim is a consummate professional. He leaves nothing to chance in his tricks. They are well-thought out and cannot be figured out. That's why his plan to save Sophie is so ridiculous. What if the Crown Prince doesn't follow her out to the barn? What if the Crown Prince kills her in the main house? What if the drug that Sophie gives him works too soon and he collapses in front of the guard outside the barn? You mean to tell me that a drug is so precise that they know he will pass out as soon as he gets in the barn, assuming he even follows her? What if the Crown Prince doesn't kill himself in the end? In all instances, the illusion would come to a quick end. Does this sound like a plan that a genius like Eisenheim would come up with? A script that builds a plan based on several unlikely events happening is a bad script. Plain and simple. You people are suffering from The Halo Effect. Just because Norton is a great actor and the cinematography is good, doesn't mean that the underlying story is good. And from a structural standpoint, this script repeats itself every ten minutes in Act 2. I was bored during the movie, and when the great 'reveal' was made, I was just disgusted that the writer/director assumed that so many people would suspend their common sense. However, he was right.
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