The Illusionist (DVD)

There’s an epic in here somewhere… just that nobody seems to remain the combination to unlock it. In its current form, it’s merely entertaining, without being mind-blowing, and considering the all-star cast (especially Giamatti and Norton), it possibly should’ve been – don’t ya think? Sometimes it ain’t just important to satisfy one’s self.


Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell

The real magic in this second magician movie to be released in twelve months is – the fact that there is a second magician movie in twelve months.

There has been a lot of similar-subject movies of the years – competition Wyatt Earp movies, competing Asteroid movies, competition Volcano movies, and recently, competing Truman Capote movies – but there’s been just as many films that have shut up shop the moment they heard that a similar project was in the works. Sadly, the makers of “The Illusionist” didn’t see fit to cut their losses when they got wind that a film called “The Prestige” was going to beat it to the box office.

Like any good magic trick, there’s a few interesting moments here, but at the end of the day, there’s no knockout trick that’ll send you home singing the illusionist’s praises. In some respects, it’s much like “The Prestige” – the build-up is quite exceptional and exciting (though it moves a little languid in this case), but the pay-off never really comes. It’s like waiting for a rabbit to come out of a hat…only to hear that it’s escaped backstage somewhere.

Norton plays an 18th century magician who falls in love with an evil Prince’s (Rufus Sewell) girlfriend (Jessica Biel). When she’s found dead, the local copper (Paul Giamatti) suspects the magic-man has more than a little something to do with it.

This film, from director Neil Burger (“Interview with the Assassin”), feels a little undercooked. There’s an epic in here somewhere… just that nobody seems to remain the combination to unlock it. In its current form, it’s merely entertaining, without being mind-blowing, and considering the all-star cast (especially Giamatti and Norton), it possibly should’ve been – don’t ya think? Sometimes it ain’t just important to satisfy one’s self.

The worst part? The twist… you don’t need a road map to spot it. It’s obvious from a mile away.

Couple of fluffy features and a reasonably-detailed commentary from the director on the DVD.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris