The Illusionist (2006)

illusionist

An illusionist is reunited with his childhood sweetheart while she is consort to the crown prince, but when she is murdered the grief-stricken magician appears to conjure up the spirits of the dead.

The first thing that strikes you about The Illusionist is its sheer beauty; shot in a way that harks back to the silent era combined with a lush, deep palette of warm colours it is truly stunning to look at. The story itself is a very Holmesian mystery that combines a whodunnit with elements of the supernatural and attractive costumes and solid performances all round add to this elegant atmosphere. The plot tries a little too hard to be a Victorian Usual Suspects, the twist a little obvious and rather reminiscent of an M. Night Shyamalan project but I would have to say that it is rather better than anything he himself has done in a rather long time.

Attractive to look at, intriguing and solidly written but being released when it was, The Illusionist is doomed to languish in the shadow of Christopher Nolan’s superior The Prestige.

7/10

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