Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bern's Movie Review: The Illusionist

The trick was on me,,,literally! I was bamboozled by The Illusionist! For some reason I thought I was going to see the movie The Prestige with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman--which has not even been released yet! So when it turned out to be this movie, I was very dissapointed. Don't get me wrong, Ed Norton is one of my favorite actors, but this flick didn't do him justice. I guess I was looking for more drama, magic, action, twists, and turns! Instead I got too much gushy, mushy love story. Anyhow, now's a great time for a "Guest Review" from the one, the only, mountain biker & Galaga extraordinaire Super Mario!

Review by Mario Correa

Eisenheim (Edward Norton) is a magician in early 1900's Vienna, who falls in love with a woman well above his social standing. When she becomes engaged to a Crown Prince, Eisenheim uses his powers to win her back and undermine the stability of the royal house of Vienna.

The love story/murder mistery with a bit of the supernatural leaves the ending open to two interpretations, depending on a person's view of the supernatural. The scientific world in which the royal officials believe does not allow for such magical things to be real. And Eisenheim sets up the entire "magic" production as an elaborate ruse for him to win back his woman.

On the otherhand, being open to the idea of the supernatural could lead to a different interpretation. It could be that Eisenheim's love did die but he could still communicate with her. End of story. However, in order to get the ever inquisitive inspector "off his back" and not pester him with questions, Eisenheim HAD to give him a simple mechanical, rational explanation of how the orange trick worked. Having a rational answer for that, then everything else is rational (the unexplained was just a good slight of hand) and no more inspector to deal with ever.

In one case it's a happy ending, unlike Romeo and Juliet, but in the other it's a tragedy as all the illusionist has are conjered up images of his lost love. I liked the intertwining of illusion and the supernatural and I like that the ending was essentially left up to the viewer. The Eisenhiem character reminded me of another occultish type figure: Rasputin

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