The Illusionist

This is one of my favorite movies of the century: The IllusionistI think I would have loved it as a kid. It has just enough of a hint of magic realism to intrigue. Is the illusionist magical? I admit feeling chills in the final scene on stage where somewhat more than expected has been revealed as an illusion. And the acting, especially by Paul Giamatti, is just brilliant throughout.

I like Mr Giamatti especially for two things. His performance is powerful, yet even more understated. And what he does with his eyes: this is remarkable. That’s what I notice in big screen acting these days: the eyes.

While we were getting ready for a parish baptism, my wife and I tuned in for the final fifteen minutes of the film. (We’ve seen it many times.) I recalled the brilliant score by Philip Glass. My wife noticed, the veneer of Eisenheim’s inscrutability brushed off in the rush ahead of the inspector in the scene on the way to the train station–and how well that was filmed.

One of my favorite lines in a film review:

(Jessica) Biel is entirely stunning enough to fight to the death over.

Except for the ill-placed preposition, I can’t disagree. Neither could the fictional characters, it seems.

I was thinking about one of my favorite movie-reviewing bloggers as I started this post.

What do you suppose will be the later judgment on early 21st century filmmaking? Will films like this, these period pieces, fade or swell in regard? Will the brash, loud, and brutal superhero films (employing their own magic realism) continue to outpace other movies as they have at the box office? Or will future audiences, deadened by even-better special effects look at them as quaint period pieces?

I may have to pull out the dvd to watch this again soon. Anybody else familiar with it?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to The Illusionist

  1. Lynn Hammerlund says:

    Todd, I love The Illusionist too. Edward Norton is one of my favorite actors. The rest of the cast is also brilliant. I was entranced the whole time I watched it, caught up in the story and trying to figure out what was illusion and what was not, and trying to figure out how they pulled off the illusion. The audience in the film was primed to accept the illusion as truth. Hmmm…kind of like how many internet users are primed to accept anything they read online as truth…

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