Saturday, January 9, 2010


The Illusionist (2006) period drama written and directed by Neil Burger. Cast: Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, and Paul Giamatti. Based on Steven Millhauser's "Eisenheim the Illusionist".
The film is seen through Chief Inspector Uhl eyes.

When Eisenheim was a young boy, he meets a traveling magician sitting under a tree beside a road. The magician performs several tricks for him and then, right before his eyes.. both the magician and the tree vanish. From that day on, Eisenheim becomes obsessed with magic tricks. He falls in love with Sophie, the Duchess von Teschen, well above his social class. Young Eisenheim makes Young Sophie a puzzle locket, when twisted shows a small, picture of Eisenheim. The two are forbidden to see each other, they meet secretly in the woods, where Eisenheim tells her of his plans to go to China to learn magic, Sophie wants to go with him. On the day that they are planning on leaving, the police come looking for Sophie. The two hide and Sophie begs Eisenheim to make them both disappear. He is unable to perform the trick.
Eisenheim leaves his village to travel to China. He returns 15 years later as a master illusionist. When magician Eisenheim begins to perform his amazing illusions in Vienna, word quickly spreads of his amazing powers. Crown Prince Leopold, believes the illusionist is a fraud. Leopold attends one of Eisenheim's shows, not being very much of a gentleman, he has his fiancee Sophie von Teschen, assists the magician onstage. Eisenheim and Sophie recognize each other from their childhoods and realize that they are still in love. Eisenheim and Leopold begin fighting over Sophie, it quickly becomes obvious that they will go to any length for her. Vienna's Chief Inspector Uhl, is demanded by Leopold to expose Eisenheim, even while the magician gains a devoted following. With Uhl searching for the reasons behind the illusions, Eisenheim performs his greatest illusion.

Info from wikipedia: Edward Norton did many of his own magic tricks, with the coaching of James Freedman. He worked with Norton preparing him for his stage performances and acted as a hand double in numerous situations.

The trick of the Orange Tree was made famous by a 19th Century French magician named Robert-Houdin. It was from Robert-Houdin that another magician, Ehrich Weiss, came up with the stage name "Houdini." This trick is first mentioned in old Indian manuscript as an illusion by Faux. Analogical trick was also performed by Pinetti, an 18th Century magician, but instead of oranges, he used lemons. Houdini was the first one to use real fruits.

This is one of my top 5 favorite movies. This film is filled with suspense, romance and twists and turns.. The special effects are amazing. The music becomes a part of the movie, telling the story when there is no dialogue. The cast did a fabulous performance.
You can view the movie The Illusionist on You Tube.

1 comment:

PurpleLion said...

I really like this film. I was never an Ed Norton fan, but he won me over with his performance in this. And Rufus Sewell plays mean so well, I can't think of anything he's done where he was pleasant!