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The Illusionist Blu-Ray

“The Illusionist” is a great romantic thriller set in the Victorian era in Vienna.  Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Rufus Sewell and Jessica Biel star in this visually rich drama that will have you wondering”how did he do that?”.  

Norton plays Eisenheim, who as a boy, falls for a beautiful rich girl but they are forcefully separated when the romance is found out.  Flash forward a few years where Norton is a famous illusionist playing in Vienna and performs for the Crown Prince (Sewell) and his fiance,Biel.  Giamatti plays a police inspector who works for the Prince and shadows Norton to find out all he can about the mysterious Eisenheim.  As Norton and Biel rediscover each other, the Prince senses their romance rekindling and through an act of jealousy, tries to destroy the illusionist’s act.  Outraged, Biel confronts the Prince and breaks off the engagement. More retribution follows but that would spoil your viewing of this film.

The sets are done well and blu-ray enhances the rich details in the sets.  While colors are muted almost to sepia-tone, the cinematography and CGI sets plus costuming make you feel you are in old Vienna. The acting by all cast members is superb; Giammatti represents the audience as he watches Norton perform his tricks but is totally puzzled by how he did them; Biel is gorgeous and even manages a good accent, and Sewell is the evil Prince you love to hate.  Norton is fascinating as Eisenheim and provides a rich, complex interpretation to the title character.

The disc set includes both Blu-Ray and DVD , along with the extras included on the dvd. They include commentary by the director, Neil Burger, a making of featurette and another featurette with Jessica Biel. Puzzling, since Blu-Ray has the far greater capacity and should have at least included the commentary.  This is the kind of thing I hate about studios when they make goof ball, less then logical decisions with their product.  Whose in charge?

“The Illusionist” is a well, acted, visually beautiful, romantic mystery that will have you on the edge of your seat.  The blu-ray transfer is excellent, as well as sound.  A cautious recommendation to purchase due to the idiotic decision to put extras on just the dvd. Go figure.

June 20, 2010 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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