I had really high hopes for this one. Edward Norton is one of my favorite actors. Add Paul Giamatti and Rufus Sewell (who I quite liked in Dark City) as co-stars in a movie about intrigue and stage magic in turn-of-the-century Vienna and it seems like it would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, The Illusionist was hampered by two big problems: Jessica Biel and poor pacing. The Jessica Biel problem is simple enough: she's really bad at acting. That's not such a big deal with something like Seventh Heaven, but when a big part of the story relies on the audience being invested in her character's relationship with the title character, well, it's not good. The pacing seems to me to have arisen in the transition from short story to film. I think the original story was probably quite good, but there were several stretches of the film that really dragged. My guess is that those parts were covered as narrative between scenes in the short story, but there just wasn't a very graceful way to do it in film and I found myself getting bored. Still, The Illusionist has been getting pretty good reviews, so you may want to make your own decisions on this one.
Viewed: 8/18/2006 | Released: 4/26/2006 | Score: C