Illusionist, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: +1

Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel. Romantic drama/adventure. Written & directed by Neil Burger.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A mystery that combines romance, suspense and magic, The Illusionist is the latest film from the producers of the Oscar winners Crash and Sideways. The film stars Academy Award nominees Edward Norton (Fight Club, American History X) and Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man) as two men pitted against each other in a battle of wits. Norton plays a mysterious stage magician, Eisenheim, who seemingly bends natures laws to his will in front of awestruck crowds. Giamatti co-stars as Viennas shrewd Chief Inspector Uhl, a man committed to uphold the law. Jessica Biel (Stealth, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Blade: Trinity) shares the screen as the beautiful and enigmatic Sophie von Teschen, who falls in love with Eisenheim as a youngster, only to be separated by class-conscious parents.

Years later, when Eisenheim begins to perform his astounding illusions in Vienna, word quickly spreads of his otherworldly powerseven reaching the ears of one of Europes most powerful and pragmatic men, Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell, Dark City, who attends one of Eisenheims shows accompanied by his beautiful fianc and companion, Sophie von Teschen. Eisenheim and Sophie recognize each other from their childhoodsand a dormant love affair is rekindled.

As the clandestine romance continues, it becomes clear that the prince will hunt them down and kill them in order to protect his vanity. Eisenheim must execute his greatest illusion yet in order to live happily ever after with Sophie.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Well, finally, a movie for grownups. No cape-wearing superheroes, no fishy ghoul pirates, and no flatulence riffs that substitute for wit. Indeed, this is the type of movie generally set aside until the end of the year so the studio will be assured that Academy members will remember it come awards time. (Come to think of it, we are close to the awards season.) The plot is clever, even though its not difficult to realize that Eisenheim is using his gifts to pull off a sting; it is well acted (even Ms. Biel proves shes more than toned biceps and attitude); and each of the technical aspects from music to lighting to photography work together to make a sensory-satisfying movie experience. Writer/director Neil Burger deftly combines a nuanced morality play with a complex and stylish whodunit.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Bulls Eye Entertainment

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A coarse man, the prince crudely refers to the sex act with an obscene word.

Obscene Language: One. The f-word referring to the sex act.

Profanity: None

Violence: The young couple is roughly treated when they are caught and separated; it is implied that the prince has a violent and dangerous temper; a woman is slapped; a womans dead body is found floating in a stream; a man commits suicide by a pistol shot. Blood: Small amount is seen after a suicide.

Sex: One sensual scene between the main couple, with close-ups of skin (due to the extreme close-ups, body parts are not distinguishable.

Nudity: One scene.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: One crude comment from the drunken prince.

Drugs: Some social drinking. The prince gets drunk.

Other: None

Running Time: 109 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.