‘The Illusionist’

Stephen King said that of the two movies that came out this year about magicians in olden times, this one was his favorite. 

We came to the conclusion that whichever one you saw first would be your favorite, as I think I still prefer ‘The Prestige’ over this one.

But they are two very different films, and both very good! 

‘Illusionist’ is, at it’s very core, a romance.  Eisenheim (the Illusionist) wants to get his woman (almost-a-Duchess Sophie) back.  Paul Giamatti plays the inspector trying to figure out who these tricks are performed, whether it’s Eisenheim making an orange tree grow on stage, to the more invovled “illusions” we see later.  Rufus Sewell plays Prince Leopold, an clearly off-balance man who is threatened by Eisenheim’s mystery.

The plot moves very quickly.  Like ‘Prestige’, the story is told in a somewhat non-linear way.  We start out at the end, and then flashback (though it’s pretty much linear after we get the childhood story out of the way). 

The film is set in Vienna, Austria, so everyone is doing an accent, and I think they all did a relatively good job.  At least, I didn’t feel distracted by the accent.

As with ‘Prestige’, I can’t say too much, for fear that I’ll give something away.  It was a beautiful movie, well-paced and I think well acted.  But while I enjoyed it, I don’t know if I will want to watch it over and over.  Definately worth the rental fee and grab a bag of popcorn while you’re at it.

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