The Illusionist

The Illusionist

Neil Burger (2005)

PG Certificate


Our Score
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.


In early 20th-century Vienna, a man becomes obsessed with the art of conjuring after an encounter with a travelling magician. He decides to leave his homeland to explore the world and perfect his skills. He returns years later a very talented illusionist, and is bent on using his gift to save the love of his life from a marriage to a cruel and vicious prince. Mystery thriller, starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel and Rufus Sewell.

Cast & Crew

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

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Momentum PicturesGuidance: Violence, some swearing and sex scenes.Available on: DVDReleased on: 2 Mar 2007