Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Illusionist

I'm a sucker for magic shows and movies about magic, so I was part of the target audience for The Illusionist, a great-looking movie with an engaging performance by Paul Giamatti (not that the rest of the cast wasn't fine, t00).

I'd class this movie as an "entertainment," without any serious pretensions, though I believe some reviewers might have found loftier aspirations in it than I did. Edward Norton is the magician known as "Eisenheim," who learns magic early, loses a girl, and then finds her again in Vienna, where she's become Jessica Biel and is about to be married to to the reprehensible Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell). After that, the real illusions begin.

Having read far too many mystery novels and see far too many movies, I knew where this one was going almost from the beginning. The fact that I wasn't fooled at all doesn't mean I didn't enjoy watching things play out, though, and in fact it's a very pleasant hour and a half or so. If you haven't seen it already, check it out.


Anonymous said...

And, the illusionist had the advantage over THE PRESTIGE of no genuinely foolish penultimate revelation, one which seems not to bother entirely too many folks.

I still think that STRANGER THAN FICTION is my choice for best film released last year, but PAN'S LABYRINTH and AKEELAH AND THE BEE come damned close, and this film and THE PRESTIGE (even with that ridiculous, and actually kind of dreading-predictable, plot point) are pretty high up in my estimation. Just seen THE DESCENT and that's not trifling, but not nearly as good as I'd hoped (it's consciously modeled on ALIEN in part, and shares with that film some major Dumb and entirely too much fondness for false scares).

Unknown said...

I haven't see any of those other movies. I gotta get out more.

Vince said...

It was great to see Dick Pope nominated for an Oscar for this movie's cinematography. It's an extraordinary looking movie, not to mention an entertaining one. Giamatti gives a great Claude Rains-style performance, while Rufus Sewell channels Basil Rathbone. It's old-fashioned in the best sense.

Unknown said...

I agree about the cinematography, Vince. I could just have looked at this one without hearing the dialogue (the soundtrack was nice, too).

Some of Giamatti's looks and expressions were great.