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The Illusionist (2006)

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In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.

Director:

Neil Burger

Writers:

Neil Burger (screenplay), Steven Millhauser (short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist")
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Popularity
2,592 ( 69)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Norton ... Eisenheim
Paul Giamatti ... Inspector Uhl
Jessica Biel ... Sophie
Rufus Sewell ... Crown Prince Leopold
Eddie Marsan ... Josef Fischer (as Edward Marsan)
Jake Wood ... Jurka
Tom Fisher ... Willigut
Aaron Taylor-Johnson ... Young Eisenheim (as Aaron Johnson)
Eleanor Tomlinson ... Young Sophie
Karl Johnson ... Doctor / Old Man
Vincent Franklin ... Loschek
Nicholas Blane ... Herr Doebler
Philip McGough Philip McGough ... Dr. Hofzinser
Erich Redman ... Count Rainer
Michael Carter ... Von Thurnburg
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Storyline

In late nineteenth century Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim is reunited with the Duchess von Teschen when she is volunteered from the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances. Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognize each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, they who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences. The Duchess is soon to be wed to the Crown Prince Leopold in what would be for him a marriage solely in pursuit of power: overthrowing his father, the Emperor Leopold, as well as overtaking the Hungarian side of the empire. The Crown Prince is known to use violence against women if it suits his needs or purposes. As such, the Duchess, who realizes that she still loves Eisenheim and he her, can never leave the Crown Prince without it jeopardizing her life. After Eisenheim humiliates the Crown Prince at a private show which results in an ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing is what it seems


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | Czech Republic

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 September 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El ilusionista See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$927,956, 20 August 2006

Gross USA:

$39,868,642

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$87,892,388
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the director's commentary, Jessica Biel dressed in a period costume for her audition. See more »

Goofs

Crown Prince Leopold would be called "His Imperial Highness", never just "His Highness". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
woman in audience: It's her. I know it's her! She wants to tell us something.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.184 (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Like the Moody Blues song asks--"real or just an illusion?"
9 August 2006 | by mkane5See all my reviews

Kind of a strange movie but very original and entertaining! It was a Gothic-romance period-piece drama-mystery, and quirky characters and a bizarre--or at least unusual--plot held my interest.

Edward Norton's character plays an inscrutable but romantic master illusionist. But is he just a master illusionist or has he developed powers to effect the creepy conjuring of those who have passed on? (Regardless, the guy is so easy on the eyes.)

Jessica Biel is beautiful and good in her role but I couldn't help thinking, "Hey, Jessica, Scarlett Johanssen called. She wants her lips back."

Paul Giamatti bothered me just a tad at first because he spoke in a near-whisper and had a scruffy beard so you couldn't read his lips. He got louder and his character developed pretty darned well, thank goodness. Actually, he was fantastic (so what else is new?).

The makers of this movie did the same thing the makers of Little Miss Sunshine did--made me want to see the film twice, but for different reasons: LMS because the first time I saw it, I laughed so hard I cried, and I really needed a laugh again (and got it); The Illusionist because I was like the audience for the title character's shows the first time I saw it--just kind of naive and awed and staring up at the action with my mouth hanging open. So I'll have to see it again and pay attention. Kind of like when my daughter told me to go see The Sixth Sense again and pay attention to what Bruce Willis's character was wearing. (Plot-wise, this is unrelated, folks--just a movie watcher's analogy.)

At first, the old-fashioned circle wipes seemed a little distracting, but in retrospect, they were part of the excellent movie-making decisions that created the illusion of time and place in this film. A really good story with really good art direction and really good actors, costumes and settings. Definitely worth a go-see--or two!


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