05/03/2016  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

On 'Formation' World Tour, Beyonce Through 'Lemonade'-...
Nyle DiMarco's attitude on DWTS is annoying everyone ex...
Ripa's return to 'Live!' is all smiles following Straha...
10 Juicy Lyrics From Beyonce's New Lemonade Album That ...
Prince's last days: What we know ...
Jason Bourne Trailer and Poster Released!...
Why I quit 'Game of Thrones'...
Stephen Colbert teaches Hillary Clinton the proper way ...
'Jungle Book' ensures it: Parade of Disney-classic rema...
Captain America: Civil War reactions ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

20th Century Fox presents
The Illusionist (2006)

Eisenheim: Are you completely corrupt?
Uhl: No, no, not completely. No.

- Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: February 01, 2007

Stars: Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell
Director: Neil Burger

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Run Time: 01h:48m:51s
Release Date: January 09, 2007
UPC: 024543402374
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-BB C

DVD Review

It's always been tough to make a convincing movie about a magician—we know on some level that the camera can be the greatest trickster of them all, and especially in our time of CGI, we've become inured to seeing fantastic, impossible images as a matter of course. What would induce gasps in other times provokes only yawns in ours; add to this the challenge of filming some of the fiction by Steven Millhauser, a terrific writer but whose seductive and sinuous exercises in points of view and unreliable narrators seem to defy being put successfully onto the screen, and you get a sense of the challenge that lay before the filmmakers here. (The movie is based on a Millhauser short story.) A tip of the homburg, then, to Neil Burger, who adapted the story for the screen and directed The Illusionist, an artfully spun tale that's both intriguing and enchanting.

The setup has the feel of a fairy tale—it's even set in the Vienna woods of the nineteenth century. Eduard, a working-class adolescent, despite his good nature, is quickly branded as the boy from the wrong side of the tracks—the fetching young Sophie is the Duchess van Taschen, and a romance with a peasant boy is absolutely out of the question. Eduard is forced to disappear, and we quickly vault ahead some fifteen years, the young man returning as Eisenheim the Illusionist, who practices the dark arts. His magic show has made him the toast of Vienna, and attracted the attention of the crown prince; he comes to Eisenheim's show with his intended, who of course is our Sophie, now all grown up and still holding a place in her heart for her first love.

Edward Norton plays Eisenheim, and he combines an earnestness with something more sinister—we know the fellow always has another ace up his sleeve, but there's no denying his charm, especially if you're the Duchess, played by Jessica Biel. The prince's bagman becomes Eisenheim's Javert, and as Chief Inspector Walter Uhl, Paul Giamatti seriously gets his James Mason on—he may have the most expressive face of any actor working in movies today, and his arched eyebrows and sidelong glances give dimensionality to a character that might have been little more than political ambition in a policeman's uniform. Everyone in the cast uses a vaguely Austrian accent—the dialect coach might have rode herd a little more tightly, as the diction meanders now and again, but it transports us to the period convincingly enough.

Burger is wonderful at suggesting that Eisenheim may in fact be messing with the primal forces of nature, and the notes of magic realism are struck delicately enough that they never seem preposterous. The filmmaking style is deliberately old-fashioned as well, with irises in and out as the favored method of transition, and a decidedly Old World sepia tone to the print. To discuss the plot any more extensively would rob you of the pleasures of watching it unfold; and the movie has an absolute kicker of an ending. The whole undertaking likely will strike some as too cerebral or mechanical—if you were the little kid who watched the magic show and shouted out how you thought the tricks were done rather than giving yourself over to them, you may sneer at The Illusionist. But if you do, it's your loss; let yourself go and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Occasional scratches on the print are the only thing that mar the transfer; I should note that dOc was sent a screener disc for purposes of review, so with the final product, your mileage may vary.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Philip Glass' score may be interesting on its own merits, but on some level it seems like the one aspect of the filmmaking that's egregiously out of tone with the rest of the piece. (It's the same problem we saw with his score for The Hours.) Otherwise, the audio transfer is clean enough, with some rumblings on the low end of the scale.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Winter Passing, Find Me Guilty, Haven
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Neil Burger
Packaging: Unknown
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Burger's commentary track connects the usual dots—he describes the origins of the project (with a nod to David Blaine), discusses the location shoot in the Czech Republic, and talks us through a lot of what's sleight of hand, and what's computer enhanced. But about halfway home he seems to run out of material, and is reduced to simply narrating the story back at us. He comes across as a very bright and talented guy, but you sort of wish he had brought in some of the other filmmakers to fill out the track. Aside from some trailers, the only other extras are a pair of pedestrian making-of pieces, one focusing on the film's leading lady (Jessica Biel on The Illusionist), which runs barely 90 seconds, and The Making of The Illusionist, clips padded out with junket interview footage from Biel, Norton, Giamatti, and Rufus Sewell, who really is rather smashing as Crown Prince Leopold.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

A devilish, stylish entertainment, one that can cast its spell over even the most cynical among us, and that features Giamatti and Norton having a ripping good time.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

music, beyonce, crazy in love, lemonade, sorry, donÕt hurt yourself, daddy lessons, television, dancing with the stars, nyle dimarco, bruno tonioli, carrie ann inaba, len goodman, live! with kelly and michael, kelly ripa michael strahan, beyoncˇ, jay z, rachel roy, cheating, prince, little red corvette, purple rain, linus and lucy, movie, the bourne supremacy, the bourne ultimatum, matt damon, alicia vikander, vincent cassel, tommy lee jones, julia stiles, paul greengrass, hbo, game of thrones, sansa, ramsay bolton, theron greyjoy, reek, petyr baelish, cersei, jaime, stephen colbert, hillary clinton, carnegie deli, the late show with stepen colbert, jungle book, disney, neel sethi, bill murray, rudyard kipling, captain america: civil war, captain america, iron man, black panther, scarlet witch, the jungle book, virtual productions, avatar, gravity, jon favreau, fantasy, james cameron, avatar sequels, avatar 2, christmas 2018, movies, tribeca film festival, the first monday in may, andrew rossi, justin bieber, anna wintour, met gala, 38 interactive and virtual-reality exhibits, the bomb, the meddler, j.j. abrams, chris rock, tom hanks, john oliver, elvis & nixon, mtv movie awards, dwayne johnson, kevin hart, warner bros. studios, will smith, suicide squad, jared leto, margot robbie, cara delevingne, kiss, freedom to rock, 35 date tour, july 7, caleb johnson, dead daisies, kiss online, merle haggard, died, okie from muskogee, sing me back, mama tried, the bakersfield sound, country music. willie nelson, waylon jennings, gram parsons, eric church, hungry eyes, jimmy fallon, melissa mccarthy, the boss, brand new key, x gonna give it to ya, miles ahead, don cheadle, miles davis, rock and roll hall of fame, ewan mcgregor, michael stuhbarg, lakeith lee stanfield, house of lies, finding dory, ellen degeneres, finding nemo, albert brooks, hayden rolence, animation, celebrity, robert de niro, vaxxed, dr. william schaffner, vanderbilt university medical school, autism, cannes film festival, woody allen, cafe society, kristen stewart, blake lively, reality, the voice, alicia keys, miley cyrus, blake shelton, adam levine, marvel, georgia, gov. nathan deal, anti-gay, chad griffin, lollapalooza, chicago, red hot chili peppers, radiohead, lana del rey, ellie goulding, major lazer, dance competion, jodie sweetin, kim fields, sasha farber, paige van zandt, erin andrews, ariana grande, dangerous woman, a cappella, sxsw, drake, fader fort, know yourself, legend, energy, jumpman, hulk hogan, gawker, sex tape, florida jury, $15 million, melissa rauch, the big bang theory, the bronze, captain america: winter soldier star sebastian stan

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store