The Illusionist

Thursday, November 27, 2008
They say opposites attract – Sophie’s a member of the Austrian nobility, Eisenheim’s the son of a poor cabinet maker with an uncanny knack for making things disappear. Forbidden to be together, the two meet secretly until they’re discovered one night and he’s sent away. Years later, Sophie is now engaged to the Austrian crown prince; a despicable man with a fondness for roughing up his lovers and plans on overthrowing his father. The appearance of strange magician who can do the impossible threatens to upset everything. When it’s revealed that the magician is her childhood sweetheart, the prince, along with an overly inquisitive police chief, will do anything to keep him from foiling his plans.

I had no desire to see this when it first came out, although admittedly it looked better than The Prestige, which was released about the same time. The only reason I rented it was because it was either this or Blades of Glory... I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. Once again, I found myself thinking “Haven’t I seen this exact same plot in another movie?” Yes, I’m sure I have, in a different setting, a different time. With the rare exception, I find that Hollywood-made films are pretty cookie cutter these days (however, I couldn’t tell you the name of another film with a similar story line – I just know I’ve seen one). Regardless, the film was fairly decent. Despite a terrible accent, Paul Giamatti was the best part for me. Fine actor, that man. Edward Norton was alright but the role didn’t give him a lot of range. I don’t enjoy either Jessica Biel or Rufus Sewell at the best of times and this certainly wasn’t it for either of them. Best just to leave their contributions to this film at that.

While I wouldn’t give The Illusionist 5 cannonballs out of 5, I’d give it a strong 2.5 – not great but certainly not bad.


Wandering Coyote said...

You're right about the story. While I can't name one specifically right now, this was nothing new and exciting. A bit cliche. I thought the movie was OK, but I much preferred The Prestige.

I honestly would have chosen this over BoG, too - ack!!

Sheamus the... said...

Ahhhh man... The Prestige was AMAZING!!!

Its amazing to me how people who dont like Prestige like this one. Ones who hate Armageddon love Deep Impact. Volcanoe, Dantes Peak...

so maybe its not bad to make two similar movies at the same time. Cover all the audiences.

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