The Illusionist

April 19, 2008 - Edward Norton pulls every trick in the book - and then some - to get the woman he loves. Jessica Biel and Paul Giamatti co-star in this period piece from 2006.

The movie is set in Vienna in, I'm guessing, the late 1800s when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was still around. Norton plays Eisenheim the Illusionist, the son of a humble cabinet-maker. Biel is Sophie, born a duchess. The two meet as children and fall in love. But, Sophie's people don't approve, so she's whisked back to the castle and Eisenheim is left with a broken heart. He spends the next 15 years traveling the world and perfecting his craft.

Eventually, he returns to Vienna. On opening night, he encounters Sophie when she's forced to volunteer for his act. The person who forced her to volunteer is Prince Leopold, a cruel man who has designs on marrying Sophie. Unfortunately for him, he's no match for the magical love of Eisenheim and Sophie.

Overall review: ** Overall, there's not a lot to complain about here. The performances are fine, and the soundtrack by Philip Glass is hardly noticeable, which usually means it's pretty good. My only problem is that the movie is utterly predictable. From the moment Eisenheim returns to Vienna you know he's going to reunite with Sophie. And, when he does, you know they're going to want to be together. And, once they are, you know that he's going to create one grand illusion to make sure that no one, especially Prince Leopold, gets in their way. Still, even though you know where this movie is going, it's fairly entertaining to watch it get there.