The Illusionist (2006) (PG-13)

Drama 110 September 1, 2006
By Bill Gallo
Set in Vienna -- the city of Sigmund Freud -- in the late 1890s, Neil Burger's eerie and sumptuous melodrama (from a Steven Millhauser short story) is an intriguing meditation on the seductions of power and the power of magic. Edward Norton, who always gives off a mysterious vibe, stars as a gifted stage illusionist called Eisenheim, whose most crucial feat is bringing back from the dead the woman he loves. Philip Glass' adventurous score enriches the dark mood, and fine performances -- by Jessica Biel as Eisenheim's lost love, Paul Giammati as the skeptical police inspector who serves as our narrator and guide, and Rufus Sewell as an arrogant crown prince -- serve well this resolutely old-fashioned period piece. The great sleight-of-hand artist and historian of magic Ricky Jay served as consultant.
Neil Burger Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti, Rufus Sewell, Eddie Marsan, Jake Wood, Tom Fisher, Karl Johnson, Aaron Johnson, Eleanor Tomlinson Neil Burger Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Michael London, Cathy Schulman, Bob Yari Yari Film Group


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