Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Illusionist - 3 Stars

The Illusionist is like the last ten minutes at the bar, right when bartender screams, "Last Call!" You're talking to a chick, so you think, you're chatting it up and doing great and floating on air...than the house lights come up. No. Cover your eyes, she's not so hot, not even a woman!

A good movie starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel and Rufus Sewell in a story about a magician that challenges the Prince of Austria for the love of a woman. Norton plays a celebrated illusionist Eisenheim, who's in love with a Duchess, Jessica Biel, but she's about to wed the prince, Rufus Sewell. The two lovers plan to deceive everyone and run off forever.

The first half sets everything up and the second half shows us the con of the prince unfolding before us. If you like magic, than this is the film for you...well, for the first half of the film. Norton starts conjuring up ghosts and the city of Vienna rallies behind him because they think he's a spiritual leader. All the while, Sewell wants him shut down because the people like him.

Two things I have against this film. Eisenheim seems to be such a good magician/illusionist that he doesn't fail at all...ever. The movie becomes a showcase of Eisenheim's skills and we're left with watching him pull off this con of making his love, the Duchess, disappear. Which you figure out if you had a half of a brain. Which brings me back to why I compare this to the last the minutes at the bar. You think it's great but once you start thinking back and breaking it down, the movie doesn't look good under the house lights...too much smoke and mirrors for me.

A good film if you like period pieces, magic, mystery, strong performances by Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti and a good con. Better than most.

3 stars

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