The Illusionist (2006 Movie)

Eisenheim is a magician, taking the city of Vienna by storm. He is set to become a very rich man when his path crosses that of Prince Leopold and an old flame, the Duchess Sofie von Teschen. Leopold sets out to disprove that Eisenheim has any real power, only tricks and Eisenheim subtly mocks and humiliates him. Eisenheim also begins to make a move on Sophie, who is supposed by the populace to be engaged to Leopold. Leopold gets jealous, appears to have her killed but gets away with it because he’s the Crown Prince. Eisenheim changes his act to show spirits of the dead and eventually brings forth the spirit of Sophie, who accuses Leopold. Leopold attempts to have Eisenheim arrested but in the end Eisenheim is just an illusion. But he has set up everything pointing to the Prince as the murderer of Sophie. Between that and a plot by the Prince to overthrow the Emperor, Leopold gets his comeuppance. The movie ends with Eisenheim and Sophie living the simple life, alive and well.

What a great movie! Norton is a great actor and as funny as it may sound, it was actually his playing Bruce Banner in the second Incredible Hulk movie that made me a huge fan of his, not this movie. But with this, Hulk, Fight Club and the Italian Job, I’m certainly more willing to try a movie if he’s in it.

There’s a gravitas to this movie, a heaviness that suddenly disappears right at the end when the Inspector (played by Paul Giamatti) realizes all that has gone on and begins to laugh uproariously at the great jest Eisenheim has played on the entire city. That scene of laughter clears away the sadness and melancholia like a wind clearing away a fog on the sea coast.

This is my third time watching this and I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Knowing what is going on does take away a bit of the magic and you don’t get that “Ohhhhhh, so THAT’S what is really going on” feeling you get the first time you watch it. All 3 times I’ve watched this I’ve borrowed it from the library and honestly, I think I’ll keep it that way.

If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and borrow it sometime. It’s a good movie with a happy ending and the world needs more of that instead of the crap so many movie goers seem to clamor for.

36 thoughts on “The Illusionist (2006 Movie)

    1. Well, I hated the Prestige for how completely self-centered and horrible the main characters were.
      Here, it is much more positive. You have a Good Guy (Norton) and a Bad Guy (the Prince) and they come into conflict and the Good Guy appears to lose until the very end when you realize just how triumphant Good has been the entire time.

      So a bit of a philosophy dump there I know.
      But I found the films to be polar opposites in terms of their characters “character”.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You should put it to the test. Then you’ll know how to judge most other movies I might review over the years a bit more accurately.

      I’ve seen the first Mad Max film but none of the sequels or reboots.


    1. That movie I’m not sure I’m up for re-watching. I enjoyed it when I first saw it, but I have to admit, I was never tempted to go back.

      If only “someone” would man up and do a post on it 😉


  1. I remember seeing this film but I don’t remember the film itself.
    Sadly, I lent it to my old University lecturer (Along with The Prestige) many moons ago, but if it comes into the shop, I’ll snag and rewatch it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do like Norton, and Giamatti, though I’ve become wary of movies with illusionists in them 😉 I blame Prestige, and Now You See Me 😛 Norton can be great, really great – he has some very memorable roles, Fight Club among them, but I really like Giamatti who just seems like a good, nice guy 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You also didn’t like the ending of Shadows of the Apt so I am not one bit surprised you like the Prestige more 😀

      When you watched either, was it close together? Just wondering what you’d think of them now in comparison.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was long ago, perhaps even 2006, and yes, from what I remember – pretty close, within a few days I think. Don’t remember that much now, just which one I liked more. But the difference must have been slight, as IMDB shows I gave both 7/10 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t review movies there, but I rate every one I watch, and many TV shows. That way I can check whether I’ve seen sth or not, and what was my opinion…

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I hear what you’re saying about The Prestige. I enjoyed it but do remember the main characters being pretty unlikable. I’ve never re-watched it. I watched this movie on a flight to the UK so I don’t remember too much about it. Your review makes me want to watch it again. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Leopold is “loosely” based on Crown Prince Rudolf who committed suicide alongside his mistress at his hunting lodge. Rudolf wasn’t looking to dethrone his father, but he was liberal to his father very conservative political outlook so they were not on the best of terms already before he had affairs and gave his wife an STD that made her sterile.

    Rudolf was his father’s only son, so the new heir was his uncle Karl Ludwig who died seven years later. This made Rudolf’s cousin Franz Ferdinand the new heir, but he didn’t succeed either. For the reason why look up “What caused World War I?” Essentially Rudolf’s suicide was the start of the Fall of the House of Habsburg

    As for the film, I love it. I saw it in theaters and once it came out on DVD bought it. I need to rewatch it sooner rather than later. Norton is great, Giamatti is great, and Sewell is great.

    Liked by 1 person

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