Back Shelf Beauties
by Willie Waffle

Click Here to Buy Movie Posters!
Click Here to Buy
Movie Posters!

The Illusionist

Edward Norton is the illusionist, Paul Giamatti is the inspector out to ruin him, but it is director Neil Burger who makes the passion and excitement disappear. 

Set during horse and buggy time, Edward Norton stars as Eisenheim - a master illusionist with a mysterious background who has come to Vienna to stun the city and win back the woman of his dreams (this guy makes David Copperfield and David Blaine look like hacks).  Of course, she, Sophie (Jessica Biel), has grown up and gotten engaged to the hated Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell).

One night, his Highness and Sophie go to the theater to see Eisenheim’s much buzzed about show, but the royal one is compelled to discover how the illusions are done, especially as Eisenheim shows him up and makes him look foolish at every turn.  Soon, Leopold has ordered his main henchman, Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) to investigate and ruin our hero, but tragedy might do that for him.

Will Eisenheim be able to win Sophie's heart again?  Will Leopold destroy him before it can be done?

With some very cool special effects and magic tricks/illusions, The Illusionist has every potential to be a stunning, dramatic, emotionally exciting movie, but writer/director Neil Burger sucks all of the fun out of it.  It’s a stiff, stuffy movie instead of exciting our senses and firing our imaginations.  Even the steamy sex scene is reduced to a montage of skin so unidentifiable, you can’t get all that excited or titillated.  This is a movie that screams out for passionate performances, but lays there as limp and lifeless as a two day old french fries.

Norton and Giamatti, two of the best actors working today, seem to be
sleepwalking through the movie as if in some sort of voodoo trance, which has to be blamed on Burger, since all of the actors are following suit.  It takes away from what is an interesting and tense drama (based on the short story Eisenheim The Illusionist by Millhauser).  All of the elements are there, but not pulled together well enough, and lead to an average climax that isn’t mysterious enough.
1 ½ Waffles (Out Of 4)

Copyright 2006 - WaffleMovies.com

You can support this site by shopping at AllPosters.com Click here to buy posters!