Thursday, October 12, 2006
Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti are two of the finest actors working today and this film totally showcases their talent. Norton plays a turn of the century "illusionist" in Vienna who angers the crown prince when he renews a romance with his childhood girlfriend (now engaged to the prince), played by Jessica Biel. Giamatti is the police inspector working for the prince who is torn for his admiration for Norton and his duty to the state. Rufus Sewell plays the crown prince and makes an admirable villain.
Norton performs his own magic and illusions with a smooth sleight of hand and both he and Giamatti are at the top of their craft in this game of cat & mouse. Prague substitutes for old Vienna and looks wonderful. The attention to detail truly transports the viewer back in time. The pace of the film is slow but deliberate. This may be a turnoff for some but I still found the film absorbing and easily engaging.