I watched The Illusionist (2006) last night. Edward Norton (Fight Club, The Italian Job, Moonrise Kingdom) is a turn of the century magician in Vienna. He has traveled the world picking up tricks and magic, then returns and catches the attention of his childhood friend, the Duchess Sophie, played by Jessica Biel (7th Heaven, Justin Timberlake's wife). They pick up their forbidden love where they left off, which is even more complicated now as she is intended for the evil Crown Prince, played by the always-a-villain Rufus Sewell (A Knight's Tale, The Legend of Zorro, The Holiday). Meanwhile, the always-delightful supporting character actor Paul Giamatti (Love & Mercy, John Adams), as the Chief Inspector, is trying to figure out the mystery; not just the magician's mysteries, but the mystery of murder and intrigue within the love-triangle and the Crown Prince's evil plans.
Like most magician movies, it really wants you to question what is real and what is a trick, but this movie doesn't dwell on that. It's more about the love story. When it came out in 2006, my friend Katherine and I saw a commercial for a movie about magicians and murder and whatnot and decided we really wanted to see it. The problem was that neither of us could remember what it was called so when we saw The Illusionist was coming out we just assumed this was it. When this movie did not match the tone of the commercial, or star Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, we knew we were wrong. That movie was called The Prestige, and came out later that year. Both are good, and are quite different from one another. Maybe I'll watch that one next.
(photo by e.hunt, and collected from ntesla)