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The Illusionist Review

The Illusionist Review

Allow me to wave my wand and make all of the other summer "blockbusters" disappear… for The Illusionist tops them all! 
Edward Norton plays the enigmatic magician who bewitches large audiences and Jessica Biel‘s character alike. His acting is spot on but perhaps most impressive is that Norton actually did all of his own sleight of hand tricks (including rolling a ball around on his hand à la David Bowie in The Labyrinth–though David Bowie had a stunt magician do that for him). Director Neil Burger said, "The first week of filming, we were in a theater with about 350 extras in period dress for the stage performance scenes, and Edward performed a trick he had learned—and he fooled everyone in the theater, and all of us behind the camera.  And it wasn’t a fluke, because later, during a different scene, where he had to produce something out of thin air, he got genuine reactions.  Even Jessica and Rufus [Sewell] came up to him afterwards and asked, ‘How did you do that?!?’"   
Speaking of Jessica Biel, who knew she could look so believable as an 18th century Viennese countess? Not being a fan of 7th Heaven at all, I was skeptical about the casting decision and pleasantly surprised by the quiet and assured performance, without any terrible overacting, that she gave.  
Paul Giamatti’s fanboy-ish inspector added to the clever bits of situational and character humor scattered throughout the film. They helped liven up the sometimes moody (but very beautiful) atmosphere of the film without distracting from the main plot, a "tragic" love story really suited to the rich green and old gold settings and swelling Phillip Glass soundtrack.

With so much style, such pretty people, and such cool tricks (look out for the orange tree!), The Illusionist delivers more than you’d expect from a typical summer movie.

Check out The Illusionist when it hits theaters August 18.  I wonder how the next magician movie will match up…

TIDBIT :: Norton studied a year behind Giamatti at Yale.

[Co-written by Audrey]
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  • Melissa J

    I can’t wait to see this movie!

  • macheath

    This and The Prestige are clearly going to kill me with their collective amazingness this summer.

  • Alicia

    sorry but The Illusionist looks lame, it’s the poor man’s version of The Prestige. Though, The Prestige will be amazing, as well as The Fountain and Hollywoodland.

  • mark

    I watched this about a month ago. It’s decent enough but in no way amazing. I’m partial because I like all the actors in it. If you don’t you’ll probably hate it and find it very predictable and boring.

  • Betsy

    I saw this a few months ago at a preview screening and really liked it. Ok–I have trouble being partial when it comes to Edward Norton but it was actually really good. It is a different type of movie and yes, Jessica Biel proved she just might be able to act after all.

  • Jude

    Anything that has Rufus Sewell in it has my thumbs up.

  • maxie

    I’m not surprised that Biel is competent in the role. She was competent in the past, it’s the material that she was in that was lacking. I believe she did the best she could with the material given. Now she finally has a script that is decent so perhaps, if people don’t go in with preconceived notions based on her past projects, they’ll see she can actually act.

  • fdfd

    Biel ruins every movie she’s in….

  • madmaxine

    i saw this movie a month ago. it was HORRID. so utterly predictable. i turned and told my friend "i told you so!" when the twist was revealed. edward norton tries to do an austrian accent and fails miserably. he’s completely overrated. poor paul giamatti deserves better than this predictable garbage…

  • Rachel

    can’t wait to catch this movie!

  • Lee DC

    I could barely recognize Rufus Sewell under all that beard and moustache!

  • ren

    edward norton is love.

  • fiona lin

    i have seen the preview of this and i cant wait to see more of Eisenheim trick!

  • BABE

    Do you guys know it’s his birthday today(August 18th)? HAPPY BITHDAY EDWARD!!!:)

  • =[]

    i loved this movie-the twist was somewhat predictible-but great.when ed does movies-which aint too often-hes amazing in them, and the story itself is amazing- i had a great time whatching the illiousinist unravel itself- i HIGHLY reccomend this movie.=[]