The Illusionist: movie Review

The Illusionist PosterGenre: Drama, history, fantasy

Rated: PG-13

Year of Release: 2006

Director: Neil Burger

Summary: In late nineteenth century Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim (Edward Norton) is reunited with the Duchess von Teschen (Jessica Biel) when she is volunteered from the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances. Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognize each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, they who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences leading to a forbidden romance

Base off of anything? Yes, a short story by the name of  Eisenheim the Illusionist by Steven Millhauser. 

Review: At first glance this sounds like The Prestige that was release the same year. Other than taking place in the 1800s and having a magician, there less action, more romance, and take on a spiritualism aspect that was popular at the time.

The music is mainly orchestra, appropriate for the 19 century era. There a mystery that keeps you guessing what happen. To me how it all came together in the end doesn't really fit. There were no hints that of how it could happen.

I like The Prestige more, it has a lot of action and focus on these two revival magician. While The Illusionist is more of a love story and mystery, even those it has a mystery I don't really like the romance. That personality has to do with my tastes in stories.

Rewatchable? Perhaps. I might be able to enjoy it a second time.


Info: IDMb

  • Although the story is fictional, some details are based on the life of Austrian Crown Prince Rudolf, only son of Emperor Franz Josef. The painting Eisenheim creates is an actual portrait of Franz Josef. The bodies of Rudolf and his mistress, the Baroness Mary Vetsera, were found at his hunting lodge, Mayerling, on January 30, 1889, in what became known as the "Mayerling Incident". The Imperial Family covered it up at first, creating controversy and mystery. 
  • The Orange Tree trick 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. Pinetti, an 18th century magician, did a similar trick, but he used lemons. Houdin was the first one to use real fruit. 
  • Although the film is set in Austria, it was filmed mostly in the Czech Republic. 

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