Thursday, August 31, 2006

Saw my first first run movie

I've been meaning to see The Illusionist for a while since seeing Paul Giamatti on Charlie Rose (fast forward to 47:10 for free). Oddly enough it wasn't playing anywhere near my area, the closest theater showing it being in NYC. Since I am already there on weekdays for work/training, I saw it with a coworker after work.

The movie, starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel, is set in pre-WWI imperial Austria in a time of industrialism and civil unrest. A brilliant illusionist named Eisenheim (Norton) puts on a show that mystifies Vienna and attracts the attention of the crown prince but the heart of his fiancee Sophie, with whom he renews a youthful romance. The Chief Inspector of Vienna (Giamatti) warns Eisenheim about risking the ire of the tyrannical prince. The serious, but sympathetic admonishment falls on deaf ears because Eduard/Eisenheim embarasses the prince in his palace. In refusing to give up on his childhood love, he sets in motion a series of tragic events.

The Illusionist falls in the category of Drama, Romance, and Fantasy, bringing alive a short story by Steven Millhauser with good 'special effects'. [But don't be fooled, this isn't a movie about magic. They even stay true to the illusions performed in that historical era, in cases even completely avoiding special effects.] The role of the Chief Inspector as a storyteller and is developed in an interesting way and the plot is truly a piece of work made even better in movie form (speculation).

If you do see the movie, I'd like to know which movie, if any, it reminded you of. And about the title, I was confused for the longest time why the movie was playing so few theaters, but I just found out from a friend that today was the last day it was in limited release.

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