The Illusionist
The Illusionist

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In late nineteenth century Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim is reunited with the Duchess von Teschen when she is volunteered from the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances. Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognize each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, they who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences. The Duchess is soon to be ... (Full plot summary below)

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Full Plot Details

In late nineteenth century Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim is reunited with the Duchess von Teschen when she is volunteered from the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances. Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognize each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, they who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences. The Duchess is soon to be wed to the Crown Prince Leopold in what would be for him a marriage solely in pursuit of power: overthrowing his father, the Emperor Leopold, as well as overtaking the Hungarian side of the empire. The Crown Prince is known to use violence against women if it suits his needs or purposes. As such, the Duchess, who realizes that she still loves Eisenheim and he her, can never leave the Crown Prince without it jeopardizing her life. After Eisenheim humiliates the Crown Prince at a private show which results in an ...

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Movie Reviews

Chicago Reader - 10/10 by Jonathan Rosenbaum A lush piece of romanticism.
New York Post - 10/10 by Lou Lumenick Deserved an end-of-the-year prestige release, is a true work of art in a marketplace filled with velvet paintings. It's positively magical, the reason we loved movies in the first place.
Philadelphia Inquirer - 9/10 by Steven Rea The less said about the twists and turns The Illusionist takes, the better. Suffice to say, Eisenheim's masterful deceptions do not stop when he exits the stage.
Village Voice - 9/10 by Bill Gallo Beautifully acted and handsomely mounted, this gorgeous period piece is an intelligent and intriguing exploration of "the dark arts" -- less dependent on mere hocus-pocus than on the convincing journey of the soul undertaken by its hero.
Time - 8/10 by Richard Corliss By the end, the canniest viewers may not be fooled, but--and you can believe this--they may be mesmerized.
Baltimore Sun - 8/10 by Michael Sragow This flight of fancy stays aloft on the power of its acting and its atmosphere.
USA Today - 8/10 by Claudia Puig The Illusionist casts an exquisitely bewitching spell with its dreamy atmosphere and pervasive sense of suspense.
Rolling Stone - 8/10 by Peter Travers Edward Norton is at his best here, chalking up another boundary-stretching performance this year in the wake of the unfairly overlooked "Down in the Valley."
San Francisco Chronicle - 8/10 by Mick LaSalle A rich and elegant film, full of sly, devious characters with complicated motives.
TV Guide Magazine - 8/10 by Maitland McDonagh This handsome, elegant and restrained fable about love, artifice and power in fin de siecle Vienna is lavishly imagined and yet oddly airless.
Chicago Tribune - 8/10 by Michael Phillips One of the strengths of The Illusionist: Everyone in it actually appears to be acting in the same era.
Slate - 8/10 by Dana Stevens It's an exquisitely crafted period picture that keeps promising more and more as it goes along--smarter ideas, richer themes, spookier plot twists--and keeps delivering on every promise, right up until the rug-pulling and overly hasty final sequence.

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