movie mini-review: the illusionist

we recently joined blockbuster online in an effort to watch more \”quality\” stuff in our downtime, vs. picking up another worthless reality show. actually, we had set a goal of watching all of the movies nominated for best picture before the academy awards this weekend. not going to make it (many haven\’t been released to DVD yet) but did get our first batch of movies last week, which includes the acclaimed the illusionist, starring the effervescent ed norton.

first, back up a couple steps. last fall, people were presented with a plethora of movies about magicians set in the 19th-century. i saw the prestige in october and was, frankly, amazed at how good it was; i didn\’t see many of the twists and turns coming. if you haven\’t seen it yet, i highly recommend that you stop what you\’re doing right now and go see it. go. now… okay, you can go later. but you really should see it.

because the prestige and the illusionist were frequently mentioned in the same breath, i assumed that they were of similar quality. bad assumption.

what worked: ed norton played his role as eisenheim fairly well, although the character itself was a bit flat. the production quality was decent. rufus sewell did a fine job as antagonist prince leopold. and that jessica biel sure is pretty. er… what? right.

what didn\’t: paul giamatti; i liked him in sideways, but period acting isn\’t his gig. just not believable nearly every scene was shot in low light or dark– which is for effect, i know, but made the story hard to follow at times. and, when the true story is revealed at the end (i won\’t do any spoilers), the story seems far-fetched.

but, for me, here\’s the killer: we find out \”what really happened\” at the end, in the form of giamatti\’s character reflecting back on previous events along with yet-unseen clips of what was truly happening that we weren\’t seeing. cheesy, but pretty standard. but there are several \”impossible\” things that happened that were never accounted for; most specifically, how eisenheim was able to perform his last series of illusions that he did during his shows. why explain any of the inexplicable events that happen if you don\’t explain *all* of them?

criminy. one jules.








3 responses to “movie mini-review: the illusionist”

  1. Brian Scott Avatar

    “the effervescent ed norton.” Nice. I don’t usually think of Norton as such. More snarky than bubbly…
    Can I mention something only barely related? The wife and I watched the end of 24, season 5 last night. I know this show has been mentioned before and no one here is a big fan. But, wow. Best show on television. Ever.

  2. alex Avatar

    I bumped The Prestige to the top of my Netflix queue the other day because I really wanted to see it (in fact I can’t quite believe I didn’t make it to the theater), so good to hear that it’s good.
    How about “the incandescent Ed Norton”?

  3. sparklegirl Avatar

    May I echo the praise for “The Prestige?” Really really good stuff.

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