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
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)
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