“The Illusionist”

theillusionist.jpgEdward Norton
Paul Giamatti
Jessica Biel
Rufus Sewell
Eddie Marsan
Aaron Johnson
Eleanor Tomlinson

PG13           110min           2006

“The Illusionist” is taken from a short story, it’s about an illusionist (Norton) re-discovering a lost love (Biel) and finding justice for her murder at the hands of the crown prince (Sewell) through his performances and the chief inspector (Giamatti).

It’s a very interesting film. The plot is a little transparent for the keen observer. A very satisfying tale the was surprising in that Jessica Biel held her own with some of Hollywood’s top actors. It uses some of the most spectacular special effects to tell its story.

‘The Illusionist” is interesting in that it started out as an short story that was expanded into a movie. Not uncommon in Hollywood but its just how imaginative and captivating it was. In the cynical world we live in these simply illusions are more interesting than anything that modern illusionist do. Yes there are modern special effects used to pull off these tricks but so are all of today’s modern illusionists, and they could have conceivably been pulled off then too.

To the keen observer “The Illusionist” gives you the clues to solve this mystery, in this regard its like a good murder mystery. The way they are revealed never betrays the story; they are cleverly incorporated and hidden in plain sight. If you figure out the ending before hand its still a great payoff.

“The Illusionist” has great payoff because of the acting, and non-more surprising that Jessica Biel. She held here own against Academy Award nominees and winners in Norton and Giamatti respectively. Although she gave a strong performance, it’s the underrated Rufus Sewell that makes you believe this story. He pulls off that arrogant aristocrat. His final monologue in the film makes him totally sympathetic and misunderstood.

The thing that drew me in was the illusions. It made me ask the question how they would pull off these illusions then. Some of the illusions would have been complicated in that time or pushing the boundaries of technology of the time. Still its an interesting set of illusions that helped to get me lost in the story.

“The Illusionist” uses some amazing illusions and special effects to tell an captivating tale of love lost, found and justice, adapted from a short story. It’s a murder mystery that gives you the clue through out the film and even to the keen observer there is still a great payoff. It’s an magicians tale still on par with my personal favorite “The Prestige.”

I give it a 4/5 Gs.


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