Friday, August 24, 2018

Review of 'The Illusionist'

A fictionalized version of the Mayerling incident (for my money Private Vices, Public Pleasures was a better film account of this), in which the Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian empire committed suicide in a hunting lodge, with ramifications for the succession and thus the future of the empire. One of a spate of magician-inspired period dramas, like The Prestiege.

This one is quite good, with nice acting (Rufus Sewell always good as a Teutonic villain) and a nicely-achieved period look (though I wasn't sure about some of the sepia-toning - I mean, the past wasn't actually sepia, was it?). Shot in various locations in the Czech Republic rather than in Vienna where it's set - presumably cheaper and more authentic-looking. Odd to make some of the characters speak English with slight German accents...either they are speaking English, or German; either way the accent thing is silly.

Because it's a film about a magic trick, the plot turns on how this is achieved - though it's only revealed in a sort of montage sequence at the end, and I can't say I followed all of that. But it didn't detract from the enjoyment.

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