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Catching up with "The Illusionist"

Posted at 6:08 PM on December 4, 2006 by Euan Kerr

My favorite sign of the weekend was at the Roseville 4 where a small white board at the box office reminded patrons that "'The Illusionist' is not 'The Prestige.'"

Which was good because "The Illusionist " was what I wanted to see. The film came out at the end of the summer, but is still around in second run theaters.

It's the story of a 19th century magician "Eisenheim the Illusionist" (Edward Norton,) a man of humble origins whose unrequited love for a young woman of noble birth causes him to travel the world to seek knowledge of the magic. He returns to Vienna where he becomes a huge success, but things get complicated when he again meets his love Sophie (Jessica Biel.) She is engaged to the Crown Prince, who is a nasty piece of work.

The story is told by Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giametti) who is an amateur magician himself. He is riding along with the Crown Prince's rising star, but is troubled by the prince's unscrupulous habits.

What makes "The Illusionist" so enjoyable to watch is the interplay between Norton and Giametti, two great actors playing characters who are trying to outfox one another. This one will probably be forgotten by Oscar time, but it's well worth a look.

December 2006
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