Summer 2007 Summer Films series
Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 8:00pm
Directed by Neil Burger
Starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, and Rufus Sewell
Rated PG ·
In a world where nothing is as it appears, an illusionist and a police inspector face off in a challenge of wills that attempts to determine where reality ends and magic begins — all the while blurring the line between power and corruption, love and devotion, vigilance and mania and ultimately, life and death.
A supernatural mystery that combines romance, politics and magic, The Illusionist is the latest film from the producers of the Oscar winners Crash and Sideways. The film stars Academy Award nominees Edward Norton (Fight Club) and Paul Giamatti (Sideways) as two men pitted against each other in a battle of wits. Norton plays a mysterious stage magician, Eisenheim, who bends nature’s laws to his will in front of awestruck crowds. Giamatti co-stars as Vienna’s shrewd Chief Inspector Uhl, a man committed to uphold the law and for whom magic holds no place in his ordered world. Jessica Biel (Elizabethtown) shares the screen as the beautiful and enigmatic Sophie von Teschen, who finds her future inexorably altered when she encounters the man called Eisenheim, and Eisenheim comes dangerously close to unlocking the dark secret of the monarchy that she holds.
When Eisenheim begins to perform his astounding illusions in Vienna, word quickly spreads of his otherworldly powers — even reaching the ears of one of Europe’s most powerful and pragmatic men, Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell, Dark City). Certain that the illusionist is nothing more than an accomplished fraud, Leopold attends one of Eisenheim’s shows, convinced that he can debunk him during the performance. But when the Prince’s beautiful fiancé and companion, Sophie von Teschen, assists the magician onstage, Eisenheim and Sophie recognize each other from their childhoods — and a dormant love affair is rekindled. With Eisenheim and Leopold vying for Sophie’s affection, it quickly becomes apparent that both will go to any length to claim and keep her love.
As the clandestine romance continues, Uhl is charged by Leopold to intensify his efforts to expose Eisenheim, even while the magician gains a devoted and vocal public following. With Uhl doggedly searching for the reasons and the man behind the trickery, Eisenheim prepares to execute his greatest illusion yet.