The Illusionist

  • PG
  • Neil Burger (2005)
  • US / Cz Rep
  • 104 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Nothing is what it seems in writer/director Neil Burger's gorgeously mounted sleight-of-hand confection set in 1900s Vienna. Edward Norton stars as Eisenheim, an almost supernaturally talented magician, whose growing popularity and fatal attraction to his childhood sweetheart Sophie (Jessica Biel) bring him into tragic conflict with sadistic Austro-Hungarian royal Rufus Sewell. Paul Giamatti completes a quartet of exceptional performances as the police inspector investigating Eisenheim's apparent ability to conjure the spirits of the dead. Burger keeps the guessing game going over Norton's gifts: is he just a clever trickster or does he indeed control darker sorcerous forces? The closing moments reveal everything. Technically, the film's fabulous Philip Glass score complements the sumptuous cinematography and production design. It's both a compelling celebration of magic in all its forms and a testament to the enduring power of love.

Plot Summary

Period romantic fantasy starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel. Vienna in the early 20th century: master magician Eisenheim is at the top of his game and the darling of the Austrian court. But despite his popularity, a local police inspector suspects that Eisenheim may be up to no good...

Cast and crew


Edward Norton
Chief Inspector Uhl
Paul Giamatti
Jessica Biel
Crown Prince Leopold
Rufus Sewell
Josef Fischer
Eddie Marsan
Jake Wood
Tom Fisher
Doctor / Old Man
Karl Johnson (2)
Young Eisenheim
Aaron Johnson
Young Sophie
Eleanor Tomlinson


Neil Burger

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Momentum Pictures
Violence, some swearing and sex scenes.
Available on DVD
Released 2 Mar 2007
Certificate PG