There are times when two films come out. For what ever reason, it could be publicity or distribution or whatever, but people flock to see one and virtually no-one sees the other. An example I always use in these cases is Sixth Sense and the lesser known Stir Of Echoes. The former is a good film, the latter is a really good film.
So to this review, The Prestige was launched at the same time as The Illusonist. The Prestige is a very good film but I found The Illusionist to match it. Directed by Neil Burger, the film is based in Victorian Vienna. It’s a rich, sepia toned picture, stunning to watch. A mild mannered Edward Norton plays Eisenheim, a man who has the ability to stir his audiences with his illusions. Rufus Sewell plays his opposite – a cynical corrupted emperor who has chosen Eisenheim’s childhood sweetheart as his bride. He sends an obsessive police detective to bring down Eisenheim.
What we when witness is a story unfold not too dissimilar to The Prestige – the pledge, the turn (loss) and the prestige or re-mastering oneself. Indeed we watch both magicians in these films go through an attempt to make themselves better through a journey of self discovery.
The Illusionist is beautiful to watch with it’s use of colour and stunning Viennese backdrop and if you haven’t seen it, you really should add it to your list. The only slight criticism is the blatant use of CGI which is quite jarring, however don’t let it put you off as a more than competent film.