Title: The Illusionist
Director: Neil Burger
Producer: Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Michael London, Cathy Schulman, Bob Yari
Written by: Steven Millhauser (short-story), Neil Burger (screenplay)
Music: Philip Glass
Starring: Edward Norton, Aaron Johnson, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Eleanor Tomlinson, Rufus Sewell
Length: 109 min
Genre: Drama, Romance, Science Fiction
Distributed: Yari Film Group, 20th Century Fox (DVD)
Released: August 18, 2006
Vienna, 19th century, Edward Abramovic (Edward Norton), also known as Eisenheim the Illusionist, was arrested with the charges of disturbing public order, necromancy, and threat against the Empire by the Chief Inspector Walter Uhl (Paul Giamatti) during a performance.
Eisenheim (Aaron Johson) was born in a little village from the family of a cabinetmaker in the Austrian countryside, and deeply intrigued by magician tricks.
One day, teenager, he met the young Sophie (Eleanor Tomlinson), daughter of the Duke von Teschen, and they fell in love each other by starting to meet secretly – but because of the different social classes, her father discovered the place where they were used to stay, obliging them not to meet anymore.
Eisenheim escaped towards East, reappearing after 15 years as master illusionist inVienna, where, during a show, he recognized Sophie (Jessica Biel), who was going to get married the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell).
The love between them was stronger than before, so they began to think a way to escape and live together.
After a performance to prove the truthfulness of the tricks, the Prince, who was humiliated during this in front of his noble friends and relatives, decided to shut down the theater.
Leopold had also given the Inspector the job to investigate about the illusionist by discovering the relationship with the future Empress – the following night, the Prince, asking explanation of the betrayal, murdered Sophie because of an excess of wrath and drunkenness while she was trying to escape.
This tragic episode forced the illusionist to open another theater with his savings and focus on a new performance: evoking the spirit of dead people ghosts, including the loved noblewoman.
During the show, the indignation of the spectators soared suddenly being willing to know the real causes of her death, but the police could not arrest Eisenheim for inciting to revolt, because in that moment he disappeared like a spirit.
The Inspector concluded the investigate on the case by discovering the Prince was real guilty of the murder, and during the final report, Leopold committed suicide, concluding the story.
Sure to have concluded the case, the inspector carried on his duties, until, struck by a little detail in the illusionist laboratory, he discovered the real astonishing development of the facts.
An amazing movie which confirms the strong ability of Edward Norton – main character of ‘American History X’, movie which allowed him to be consecrated great actor, and ‘Primal Fear’ with Richard Gere – of acting the roles of clever and shrewd cheat.
Rufus Sewell – already known for the TV series ‘The Pillars of The Earth’ – gives a good demonstration of his flexibility, from the sweet and fond Tom Builder in the series inspired by the Ken Follet book to the arrogant and quick-tempered Prince Leopold.
The movie carries the viewers in an involving story by keeping the grab of their attention and revealing the truth with an unthinkable coupe de theatre – who will allow the final laugh of the Chief Inspector to burst sincerely.