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.