Monday, December 11, 2006

JIFFest: The Illusionist (2006)

Edward Norton was once my favourite actor. His gig on Fight Club was extraordinary. He could really well portraying an insomniac disturbed person. However, i've rarely seen otherwise from him. The image of Tyler Durden's alter ego was in my point of view, solidly associated with him. In fact, Fight Club remains his only film that i could really enjoy. Sadly, that thing wasn't going to change in a while.

Eisenheimer's story was similar to that of Huncback from Notre-Dame. But of course, instead of being physically deformed, this guy was quite handsome, quite handy with his hands, and only thought inappropriate for falling in love to a Duchess because he was son of a carpenter. So, when said Duchess' parents separated the lovebirds, he went to travel the world, honing his magic skills and 15 years later back to Vienna to win back his girl.

But of course, there's more than meet the eye. The girl was engaged to a possessive,
megalomaniac, and drunk crown prince, Leopold who wished to overthrow his dad from the throne. And willingly or not, Eisenheimer soon tangled in a power-play that involved the Duchess, the crown-prince, and the 'not-entirely bought' police inspector.

To made this review short, the film was overlong (which actually helped in a way that i keep guessing weather Eisenheimer was a real magician or simply a man full of tricks), and the conclusion process was pragmatically shortened (that is, i'm not satisfied). Ed Norton's performance as Eisenheimer was okay, but he oftenly remind me to that insomniac disturbed person he was in Fight Club that altough the character resonate with Eisenheimer's in the last third of the film, i found it difficult to really associate Eisenheimer the illusionist as a mentally disturbed persona that lacks sleep in the first several minutes. Jessica Beil was only up there to give a reason to Eisenheimer, she was displayed up just like a mannequin in a beauty shop. Paul Giamatti was great as always, he was the one that kept this film on its course, and lastly, Rufus Sewell who so bastardly able to portray that crown prince, great cruel bastard, a typical monarch that you would only read in stories. I love him.

Don't get fooled with the title. In my opinion, it suggests that the film would greatly dealt with the live of an illusionist, you know, the way he hone his tricks, the way he performs at his show, et cetera. However, you'd still get a decent illusions along the way, but really, it was just another love story with lame (and corny) pick-up lines such as, "i travel the world, but i can't solve one mystery. The mystery of why i can't get you off my mind". Okay, i've heard better, and that scene (it's a sex scene) was the one that really put me off.

The Illusionist, 2006
Directed by: Neil Burger
Running Time: 110 mins.
My Rating: Intersting (** / ****)

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