Atmospheric and dark, The Illusionist is one of those movies I probably wouldn’t have watched (at least not way back when) if someone hadn’t lent it to me.

The Illusionist (2006) Film Review

Holding his audience captive is what the famed illusionist known as Eisenheim (Edward Norton) is doing. Soon however the spell is broken when the police guarding the theater storm the stage and announce his arrest. From here, we learn of Eisenheim’s young beginnings, his ill-fated romance and his reappearance in Vienna…

During one of his shows, he catches the attention of the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) and his gorgeous fiancé (Jessica Biel) who finds this illusionist intriguing. Prince Leopold isn’t easily charmed, and with an inspector (Paul Giamatti) to do his bidding, Eisenheim may be in for some trouble.


‘THE ILLUSIONIST’ CLOAKS ITS STORY IN MOODY MYSTERY AND ROMANCE. #PeriodDrama #EdwardNorton #JessicaBiel #Movies #Romance #RomanceMovie #RomanceMovies Click To Tweet
SOME GOOD PERIOD DRAMAS ON AMAZON PRIME, PART 2. Looking at some of the best options for Period Drama on Prime now! © Rissi JC

It’s likely I would have seen this by this point in my movie watching timeline, it wouldn’t interest me back in 2006. Odd since I do adore a good period drama. I don’t remember much about that very first time I watched it, but do remember being a little bit annoyed at the direction of the script and thinking I’d loathe the film. Fortunately, that’s not true.

Penned by Neil Burger, who also sits in the director’s chair, this is one of the most interesting films I’ve seen, to this day. Everything from the atmosphere to the stylistic way it’s filmed is different. It has this hazy, romantic quality that is perfect for the story it tells. The lighting is low, but perfectly appropriate for this which then gives this that appropriate and appealing “look” for this production.

Equally the cast is good. From its lead to the supporting cast, everyone has value. Though I will note, it’s primarily the guys who shine most just because they have the most screentime. The costuming too is stunning and pretty while being simple and somehow minimalist in a genre normally all about extra adorning.

If you don’t mind a drama with a slower pace, The Illusionist may be something you would enjoy. It’s heavy on the unexplainable so there is magical elements if that’s not your thing. If this isn’t a bother, then know The Illusionist is pretty, yes, but also an interesting opaque mystery.


‘THE ILLUSIONIST’ CLOAKS ITS STORY IN MOODY MYSTERY AND ROMANCE. Review of the 2006 period drama mystery. © Rissi JC

Content: there is a sex scene. It films very much in a kind of low light, with shadows and candles, but we do see bare skin, outlines and kissing. The scene is very PG-13. There’s other issues to make up this rating like some violence including murder (off screen) and abuse (someone slaps another person).


About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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