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The Illusionist

Release Date: August 18, 2006
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Limited release


Movie of the Day for Thursday, August 17, 2006
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Look at how my coat flaps in the wind.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
11/65 Kim Hollis Gorgeously filmed, the cat and mouse game that takes place throughout the picture is perfect (even if the ending might be telegraphed).
34/68 Michael Bentley Solid film and Norton is great as always, though not as compelling or magical as it could have been.
34/52 Les Winan Despite good work from Ed Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel, the movie's grand ambitions don't bear fruit. It's a shame, because there's plenty of great pieces but no glue.
38/76 Dan Krovich Very skilled workmanlike effort. Doesn't break any new ground but retreads pretty well.
40/159 David Mumpower Shiny cinematography and an engaging story overcome somewhat laborious pacing.

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Versatile actor Edward Norton has tended to shy away from big budget Hollywood fare in recent years. After finding much mainstream success in late 1990s films such as Primal Fear, American History X, and Fight Club, his career path of stardom seemed a foregone conclusion. But since then his choice of roles has been rather interesting and varied, starring in bombs like Death to Smoochy, or a small role in a big film like Kingdom of Heaven, and several lead roles in a film that few people saw such as Down in the Valley.


With The Illusionist Norton is once again going with the small film route. He stars as a magician in early 1900s Vienna named Eisenheim who uses his wondrous abilities to attract the attention of a woman far above his own social status. Jessica Biel is Sophie, the woman he is drawn to. Sparks fly when she gets engaged to the Crown Prince (Rufus Sewell), so Eisenheim uses his magic to try to win her back, threatening the tranquility of the royal world. Acclaimed character actor Paul Giamatti also has a key role, as a man that the prince hires to stop the illusions, further raising the star power.


Neil Burger, who wrote the adaptation of Steven Millhauser’s short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist,” also directs the film. It is his second feature, after 2002’s seldom-seen Interview with the Assassin. (Michael Bentley/BOP)


Vital statistics for The Illusionist
Main Cast Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel
Supporting Cast Rufus Sewell
Director Neil Burger
Screenwriter Neil Burger
Trailer http://www.theillusionist.com/
Official Site http://www.theillusionist.com/
Rating PG-13
Screen Count 38
Awards Awards page for The Illusionist
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture


     


 
 

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