Friday, February 09, 2007

Nickel Tour: The Illusionist (2006)

Here's the nickel tour:

It's been a while since the Netflix fairy brought me anything, much less something good. (It helps when you actually send the movies back instead of letting them get lost on the coffee table.) The Illusionist is a pretty good movie, a love story/magical realism piece. The story itself was a sort of typical boy meets girl above his social station, boy moves away mysteriously for many years, boy meets girl as an adult and she's going to marry the bad guy, etc. However, the characters here are really interesting. Edward Norton is a really great actor, Paul Giametti is lots of fun as the chief inspector ("Are you completely corrupt?" "Not completely, no!"), and Rufus Sewell from Dark City has some good moments as the price of Vienna. Jessica Biel is passable as the love interest, but I think she's just there for the asses-in-seats factor to get guys to watch this with their chicks. All the actors do a decent job with accents, too.

The production itself is very fitting- part of the story is told as flashback, and that section of the movie has a slight iris lighting effect and a bit of flickering, as though seen through a magic lantern or zoetrope. The overall lighting and cinematography was a pleasure to watch in and of itself. If anything, some of the magic so central to the tale falls a little short- the 19th-century audience were amazed, but I had a hard time not seeing the CGI. I give it a "Rather good and definitely worth watching once."


MyUtopia said...

Did Dan tell you we are doing NetFlix now? I'll have to add that one to my list.

Nyarly said...

Regarding CGI: you're aware that a lot of the effects in the movie were actually performed by Norton (or a double) for the camera? In other words, things like the orange tree aren't CGI. There was a whole thing on NPR where the director was a little worried that people would assume that it was all CGI.

The ghosts I don't know about... but a lot of the rest is actual stage magic.