"Nothing is what it seems."
A 2006 Period Drama
loosely based on Steven Millhauser's story "Eisenheim the Illusionist".The Illusionist
tells the story of Eisenheim, a magician in Vienna in the late 1800's and the childhood promise he made to a girl that someday, they would both disappear. The film begins near its climax and most of the film takes place in a Flash Back
No relation to the 2010 animated film
This film provides examples of:
- Alas, Poor Villain: While the Crown Prince without doubt is a jerkass, the ending lets you wonder whether he really was so evil as he was made out to be, especially because it is revealed that his motive for preparing a coup was not mere selfishness and lust for power, but his sincere belief that his father was unable to lead the Empire into the future. And did he really deserve to be framed for a murder that not only did he not commit, never even happened in the first place?
- Ambiguously Jewish: Eisenheim, aka Eduard Abramowitz, has a Jewish surname, and is a stage magician in the early twentieth century. If so, it adds another reason why he and Sophie aren't allowed to be together.
- Adaptation Expansion: Heck yes.
- Black and Grey Morality: The Villain is a murderous asshole planning a coup d'etat, while the hero is somewhat....extreme in the methods that he uses to get what he wants.
- California Doubling: 19th century Vienna was shot in present day Czech Republic.
- Cassandra Truth: "He's planted everything!" "You're drunk."
- Chekhov's Gunman: The man seen with Eisenheim at the train station.
- Chekhov's Gun: Where to start...
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Implied with the locket.
- Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Sophie is followed everywhere "for her protection." Eisenheim uses this to his advantage.
- Death Glare: The prince is a master.
- Driven to Suicide: The prince.
- Dueling Movies: In contest with The Prestige (2006).
- Fake Nationality: Americans Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel and British Rufus Sewell are all playing Austrian characters.
- Faking the Dead, complete with a very convincing temporary Faux Death.
- Happily Ever After
- Hey, It's That Guy!: John Adams is investigating the Narrator.
- How We Got Here
- Inspector Javert: Inspector Uhl is a cross between this and an Obstructive Bureaucrat.
- This at least appears to be the case. In the end, he's revealed as one of the few truly moral characters in the film.
- Magicians Are Wizards: While The Prestige justified its use of this trope, this film handwaves it.
- Though methods existed for all his tricks, you just never learn about them without the DVD commentary.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Until The Reveal, it is deliberately ambiguous whether Eisenheim does tricks or really has powers. It turns out that he really does tricks.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: In the most convoluted way possible.
- Offstage Villainy: We get told the prince is violent towards women and a cruel manipulator, but never really see it.
- Although we do see him backhand Sophie once, and be generally unpleasant. And plan a coup d’état.
- Pet the Dog: Eisenheim, after his first successful show, playfully and quietly giving a windfall of coins to a few urchins.
- Prince Charmless: Then again...yeah.
- The Reveal
- Rebellious Princess: Well, duchess, at least; she wants desperately to run away with Edward despite the fact that he's the lowborn son of a cabinetmaker.
- Shadow Archetype: Eisenheim and the prince are this to each other. Both are well-intentioned extremists in love with Sophie who did what they had to do in order to get what they wanted. Eisenheim frames an innocent man for murder, while the prince is a drunk and a wife beater who is planning a coup because he genuinely thinks it's better for the country.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Spectacularly.
- Stage Magician
- Surrounded by Idiots: The prince certainly thinks so.
- Utopia Justifies the Means
- Victorious Childhood Friend
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The recurring motif of the butterfly - secrecy, a double life, rebirth, a new life... nicely handled.
- Whodunnit To Me: Sophie's ghostly appearances at Eisenheim's shows seems to be trying to get the public to figure this one out.
- Would Hit a Girl: The prince
- Xanatos Roulette