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El ilusionista [Blu-ray]
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Cuando Eisenheim comienza actuar con su asombroso espectáculo de ilusionista en Viena, pronto corre la voz sobre sus poderes sobrenaturales llegando a los oídos de uno de los hombres más poderosos y pragmáticos de Europa, el príncipe heredero Leopold. Convencido de que el mago no es más que un experto impostor, Leopold asiste a uno de los espectáculos de Eisenheim, con intención de desacreditarle durante su actuación. Pero cuando la bella prometida del príncipe, Sophie von Teschen, aparece, Eisenheim y Sophie se reconocen de la infancia y un amor latente es reavivado. Con Eisenheim y Leopold luchando por el afecto de Sophie, pronto se hará evidente que ambos están dispuestos a no poner límites para reivindicar y mantener su amor. <br> <br><br> <br>El amor clandestino continúa y Uhl tiene como misión, por órdenes de Leopold, de desenmascarar a Eisenheim, por lo que intensifica sus esfuerzos a pesar de que el mago sigue cosechando grandes éxitos entre su público. Mientras que Uhl insiste tenazmente en descubrir los trucos de este hombre, Eisenheim prepara su número más ambicioso.<br> <br><br> - Nominada como mejor fotografía Dick Pope en la 79 edición de los Premios Oscar 2007.
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Originally the short story was written as a political criticism of the Monarchy, based on the scandalous incident, where the bodies of Rudolf and his mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera were found shot in a Royal hunting lodge, apparently a murder suicide which the Royal family kept from the public for many years.
Edward Norton as Eisenheim is understated and brilliant, as the many sleight of hand tricks in the film were actually done by the gifted actor. Norton must have practiced for months to reveal such confidence and skill needed for these types of trick. However, Norton's character portrayed a perfect man of mystery, begging the question, are these mere illusions or does Eisenheim possess supernatural power, controlling matter, energy, space and time itself.
The special effects in this film are well done. My favourite illusion in the film, (and they're many) is the Excalibur Sword illusion where Eisenheim borrows Rudolf's sword, somehow magnetizes it to the stage standing straight up, asking the various aristocrats' in the audience to release it from its position. Of course none can release the sword, as they, like the Arthur legend, are not meant to be king. When Prince Rudolf attempts to pull the sword from its stationary stance, he finally does so with great effort; by causing the ruthless Prince some embarrassment, Eisenheim is now a targeted enemy of the Crown.
Paul Giamatti as the corrupt Inspector Uhl really shows what a versatile and gifted actor he really is, able to do comedy, tragedy, fantasy...a very impressive performance.
The overall look of the film had the atmosphere as if we are viewing a primary historical source, the director using 80 year old editing techniques etc., this was unusual but effective for such a mixed genre film - fantasy, thriller, supernatural thriller and fairy tale romance.
When first seeing this film I was spellbound and the ending, a perfect twist, making The Illusionist a perfect example of skilful storytelling.
This is an excellent film.
As the tale unwinds (and it does ever more quickly as it moves toward the end), we do learn more and more about what lies behind Eisenheim's sad eyes. When Sophie's body turns up in the river after an argument with Leopold, Eisenheim's shows take on a dark change and he becomes kind of a "John Edwards" of the 19th century...but this John Edwards can summon holographic ghosts onto the stage, much to the delight of his audience. Is he becoming more and more obsessed and perhaps insane as Sophie begins to appear in these seances? In a twinkling, we find out as much about Eisenheim as we have during the entire film, and the lines in the Sophie-Leopold-Eisenheim triangle between the innocent and the devious aren't so clear.
A film to be savored.
My only criticism is with the rest of the blu-ray treatment. While the picture and sound are excellent, everything else is an embarrassment. There is no main menu, no chapter selection or bookmarks, and no special features on the blu-ray disc. Just a garish intro page telling the viewer that they can access the specifications by pressing the top-menu button. That gives you access only to the audio setting. And there are no subtitle options either. Madness! Subtitles actually would help occasionally on this particular film as sometimes the actors are speaking quietly and are difficult to hear, and what they are saying is important to the mystery of the film.
This set includes the original dvd disc which DOES have a main menu with all the expected options, so the buyer gets a bizarre combination of a blu-ray disc with nothing but a hi-def picture, and a vastly inferior standard-def disc that treats the film with at least a little of the respect that it richly deserves.
In the end, I'm glad to finally have a hi-def version of The Illusionist, but I'm baffled and frustrated that Fox treated it with such contempt.
The rest of the cast is very good, as well, particularly Paul Giammati as the police inspector and Rufus Sewell as the unstable and vicious Crown Prince Leopold. Jessica Biel is the weakest leak in this chain as Eisenham's (adult) love: her "Viennese" accent slips the most often, and she is not as charismatic as Norton, but she does well enough and doesn't spoil the movie. The film is set in Vienna in 1910, and the American actors, as well as the British Sewell, were coached to produce a "Viennese" accent, but it isn't, quite, and the result among the Americans is an inconsistent sound that is neither British nor Viennese, and which Biel, in particular, had trouble maintaining. There are a few narrative weakness. One is the Duchess not recognizing Eisenham, the love of her youth, 15 years later as she stares into his eyes on stage - he was already an extraordinary young magician when she first knew him and already possessed of an adult voice. Then there is the little matter of the Duchess's exit, apparently with no questions from the noble family who presumably would have wished to bury her! But these quibbles, somehow, are easily set aside in the somewhat fairy-tale-like atmosphere of the film, which was imaginatively shot in sepia tones that enhanced this. This eerie atmosphere is also greatly enhanced by Philip Glass's delicate, mysterious score. Romantics, rebels, and dreamers everywhere will appreciate the themes of this film as expressed through the relationships among the characters. The magical effects, of course, are enhanced by the wonders of computer technology. One is aware of this while watching, but doesn't care.
A charming and romantic film with a truly unique feel to it, highly recommended.
This is such a beautiful film. The setting of Vienna during the turn of the twentieth century is truly breathtaking. And the backdrop of magic and supernatural powers is just as eye catching. This film is a feast for the eyes. I absolutely love the twist at the end and it left me with a smile on my face. This is a unique, suspenseful love story not like any other love story. I have loved Edward Norton since watching him in Fight Club and he is absolutely wonderful here. Biel and Sewell are also great in their roles. Paul Giamatti, however, is a true showstopper here next to Norton. He, like Michael Caine in The Prestige, plays a wonderfully complex character and you want him to be on the good guys' side. The Illusionist has found a place in my DVD collection. This is a must-see and a must-own for sure. I love The Prestige for its dark theme, and I love The Illusionist for its magic and passion. These films are similar and different at the same time, but one thing is for sure: they are both 100% recommended!