Guest / Limited Access /
The Illusionist
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
(not rated yet)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for some sexuality and violence)
Genre
Directed By
Sylvain Chomet
Run Time
1 hour 20 minutes
Cast
Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin, Duncan MacNeil, Raymond Mearns
Theatre Release
June 16, 2010 by Yari Film Group

A good storyteller, like a good magician, knows that the audience wants to be fooled, at least while the show is in progress. In the end, we may or may not want to know the truth—for the truth, once revealed, may come either as a revelation or an anticlimax. But while the performance unfolds, we want the illusion, want to be taken out of the real world. Once we see through the story or the trick, the spell is broken, and we're back in the real world.

A moody, atmospheric fairy tale, The Illusionist is the story of one illusionist—Eisenheim, a fictional turn-of-the-last-century magician—being told by another, writer-director Neil Burger (Interview with the Assassin). By the film's end, the viewer knows the truth about some of Eisenheim's illusions, and some of Burger's as well. Some viewers may see through the plot's central illusion early on; others may be as fooled as most of the characters. On a fundamental level, though, The Illusionist succeeds: While the storytellers are at work, the spell holds.

Based on the Steven Millhauser short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist," Burger's film tells the story of an unflappable, charismatic magician named Eisenheim (Edward Norton) in pre-WWI Vienna. Like a method actor who stays in character off the set, Eisenheim maintains a quiet, commanding presence on or off the stage, an inscrutable sense of knowing more than he lets on, as he plays a dangerous game of wits with the heir to the Austria–Hungary monarchy, the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), and with Leopold's favorite among the police, chief inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti).

The sparks begin to fly when Leopold, attending one of Eisenheim's performances, volunteers his paramour, the Duchess Sophie von Teschen ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickYou Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
You Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
It's not a travel guide. And Colton Burpo isn't the first Christian to have an ecstatic experience.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

August 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.