I felt a bit sorry for The Illusionist when it came out, as it was very close in subject matter and setting to The Prestige which was a fabulous film (this is what I thought at the time).

The Illusionist was definitely overshadowed, which is why it’s taken me so long to get around to seeing it. It’s fair to say that the only reason we have this is because the Book God kept coming across it on various movie channels and thought that it looked interesting. And I’m glad we did give it a hot because it was great fun, and a very diffrent film from the one I expected.

So, Edward Norton and Jessica Biel fall in love as teenagers and are forcibly separated because they are from very different social classes and Jessica’s family have plans for her. Edwards returns many years later as a mysterious and effective stage illusionist to find Jessica betrothed to Rufus Sewell, a cruel and ambitious son of the Emperor. Shenanigans of a potentially magical nature follow…..

Things I loved = Rufus Sewell (sigh) – don’t care whether he is hero or villain, I could look at him for ever; Paul Giamatti, very effective as a secret policeman; the wonderful mittel-European setting; the enjoyable plot

Things not so loved = Edward Norton was OK, as our hero, but I really don’t warm to Jessica Biel at all ( she always looks like she is suffering from mild dyspepsia) and I didn’t really find the central romance wholly convincing once they were all grown up; but minor things really

Rating stuff = PG (infrequent moderate violence, mild sex and language)

Tissue count = 0

Safety cushion = not required, could have watched this with all manner of aged aunts without any fear of one of them keeling over through shock

So, a nice little film (which sounds really patronising and damned-with-faint-praise but isn’t meant to be), a good way to pass a Sunday afternoon. Worth watching to see Rufus Sewell lose his temper. Not sure I’d go out of my way to watch it again but certainly wouldn’t change channels if I came across it accidentally.

Which really does sound a bit rough on something that is entertaining and well-made…..

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