Review: The Illusionist

Unspoiled Synopsis

Eisenheim (Edward Norton) is a stage magician who amazes the audiences of turn-of-the-century Vienna, drawing the attention of Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell). When the Prince's intended, Sophie von Teschen (Jessica Biel), assists the magician onstage, Eisenheim and Sophie recognize each other from their childhoods -- and a dormant love affair is rekindled. As the clandestine romance continues, Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) is charged by Leopold to expose Eisenheim, and Eisenheim prepares to execute his greatest illusion yet.

My Review

Ironically, the first trailer that was showed in the previews segment while I was attending the movie last night was “The Prestige” staring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and the lovely Scarlett Johansson. When I saw the trailer, I thought, “wait a minute, this movie seems quite similar with the movie I’m attending, with much bigger stars. Am I wasting my time?” However, just after the first 15 minutes of the movie I was baiting my lips for thinking such a thing (especially after reading the synopsis of Prestige today, I concluded that both movies are quite different).

It’s been so long since I have seen Edward Norton movie and it seems I forgot how talented this guy is. Norton has truly captured the true essence of Eisenheim’s character; the character of a calm, collective (and very cool) magician that falls in love with a high-status woman, and without losing his “coolness” while doing so. Although, I don’t consider the role of Eisenheim has captured Norton’s essences; I think that Norton was working his character out, not vice versa (If you have seen him in Primal Fear, American History X, and the Fight Club will know what I mean). The script is really strong and very original; I assure you that you will get hooked from the start, and you will be amazed how everything assembles together at the end of the movie in one scene. The acting was excellent for this script, but I definitely wasn’t blown away, because I have seen better such as other Norton’s movies that I have mentioned. However, it was nice seeing Jessica portraying the role of a helpless, high-status woman who can’t seem to change the destiny that was chosen for her; most Jessica’s movies usually involve stunts and broses (i.e. Blade:Trinity, Texas Chainsaw Massacre). As for Paul Giamatti (The Cinderella Man, and Sideways), I don’t think he brought a new depth for his character; probably any other actor would have played his role easily. There wasn’t over-dramatization involved in the movie, and the storytelling was very tight. Not sure I was mesmerized by the soundtrack though.

All in all, you should definitely watch this movie when it hits the theaters. Although, I don’t think the Kuwaiti audience will appreciate this kind of movies; they will probably degrade the movie during or after the movie is over…but what can you do. Highly recommended.

My Rating

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