The Illusionist

Director Neil Burger goes all-costume-drama in this tale of a magician, an emperor-to-be and the woman they both love. Set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, it’s loaded with the fake stylings that hinder so many costume dramas: The costumes look too fresh; the actors are too stiff; the accents are ridiculous and pointless. Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti, two of our finest actors, do a decent enough job, but are hampered by the directing. Most of the film is set up for the shock surprise ending which ties everything up way too neatly. There are also some annoying CGI effects, but on the plus side, there’s a moral ambiguity to the story that most big-budget films would shy away from.

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