Vienna around the end of the 19th centure. When an illusionist called Eisenheim arrives in town, he does his first performance in a small theater and his show is so good that even the crown prince hears about it and decides to check it out together with his fiancé, the lovely Baroness Sophie Von Teschen. However, Eisenheim and the baroness know each other from when they were kids and as they see each other again, love sparks fly in the air.
While Eisenheim and Sophie are preparing to leave the country together, the crown prince isn’t all too happy with the situation as he wanted to marry Sophie and with that take control over Hungary. Little later, Sophie is found dead in a nearby river, leaving Eisenheim with a broken heart and a grudge against the crown prince who he believes is the killer. Police chief Uhl doesn’t believe Eisenheim’s accusations and continues following the crown prince’s orders and when the illusionist starts up a new show where supposedly dead people are risen from the grave, including Sophie Van Teschen, Uhl has to shut Eisenheim down. However, the illusionist has one last show to do…
Sound and Vision:
The image is extremely dark but although this often makes that you only get to see some faces in a scene, this doesn’t hurt the movie at all. Even better, it makes things better as it heightens the mystery of what Eisenheim is thinking. For the rest we can say that there’s tons of detail present in the image and although there are a couple of minor compression errors, they don’t bother too much.
The sound comes with a DTS track that does an excellent job with using the surround speakers for additional atmospheric music as well as effects that put you in the middle of the movie. Great stuff!
The extras include several interview fragments with cast and crew and these are quite interesting to watch. There’s also a “Featurettes”-department but you can entirely skip that as it’s made out of parts from the interviews. Also a couple of film clips and a b-roll are present.
The Illusionist is a dark movie in every sense and I like it like that. Edward Norton does an excellent job in portraying Eisenheim and although the ending is somewhat predictable, it’s a joy to watch the story develop and create doubts on whether or not the illusionist has real magical powers or not. The Illusionist is certainly a movie to check out if you like suspense without over-the-top action.
The dvd comes with an excellent DTS track and also the interviews are quite interesting to watch. The rest of the extras could have been left out though as they don’t offer much.