It was a pleasure to watch this enchanting movie, starring Ed Norton (The 25th Hour, The Italian Job) as an early 20th century magician. Norton plays Eisenheim, a quietly charming stage entertainer. His sold out performances feature a mix of both standard slight of hand tricks and supernatural feats. The story opens with a glimpse into Eisenheim’s childhood and the forbidden friendship he shares with Sophie (Jessica Biel of Stealth), a member of the royal family. When the two are forced apart as teenagers, Eisenheim flees and travels the world, perfecting his craft. He returns to his home of Vienna 15 years later and is reunited with his lost love at one of his performances. Sophie is planning to marry the Prince, but must confront the feelings she never stopped harboring for Eishenheim. The Prince is ruthless, and the two lovers must devise a plan for Sophie to escape his violent grasp.
One part love story, one part murder mystery, The Illusionist is a captivating movie that shouldn’t disappoint. It is clever and well-acted, with very good performances from Norton, Biel, and Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Lady in the Water) as an intelligent but conflicted police chief. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill movie, and worth a look.