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Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 299 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. A lush piece of romanticism.
  2. The Illusionist looks rigorously styled and measured, and every one of Norton's postures feels chosen. Yet the interesting actor has chosen so thoughtfully that we're riveted.
  3. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    80
    It's an exquisitely crafted period picture that keeps promising more and more as it goes along--smarter ideas, richer themes, spookier plot twists--and keeps delivering on every promise, right up until the rug-pulling and overly hasty final sequence.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    Illusionist is like an overupholstered wing chair in the corner of a men's club -- you settle in only to be startled by how ridiculously comfy you are.
  5. Sewell and Giamatti ham it up as the imperious pretender to the throne and his ambitious but conflicted minion in this uncheesy but entertainingly tricky mystery. There's more heat between the two of them than between the sappy lovers.
  6. The movie also is designed to be an actor's showcase for Norton and Giamatti, two of the best movie actors of their generation. Each has his moments of fire, but some element is missing from the script that would make this duel of the titans riveting.
  7. The film's moody, dark palette and soft, inchoate backgrounds tend to lull the senses rather than actively engage the viewer. The magic practiced by this illusionist does not extend to the screen.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 89 out of 102
  2. Negative: 4 out of 102
  1. LindsayB.
    Aug 26, 2006
    10
    A fascinating and engaging film. Definitely one of the best films of the year.
  2. BarbP.
    Oct 16, 2006
    10
    Easily one of the best films I've seen all year. It's beautiful and romantic and intriguing all at once. Like a great magic show it Easily one of the best films I've seen all year. It's beautiful and romantic and intriguing all at once. Like a great magic show it sucks you in and makes you believe. Expand
  3. Jan 23, 2014
    10
    Awesome. Great plot, great acting. This is sort of steampunk-like movies (like Sleepy Hollow). Plot takes you from the beginning till the end,Awesome. Great plot, great acting. This is sort of steampunk-like movies (like Sleepy Hollow). Plot takes you from the beginning till the end, I dont want to spoil, but at the end of the movie I has the same face as of Paul Giamatti ))
    Jessica Bil is very cute!
    Expand
  4. PaulF.
    Sep 8, 2006
    9
    Actually I would have given this movie an 8.5 maybe even an 8.8 but this rating system will not let us be that refined. I would have given Actually I would have given this movie an 8.5 maybe even an 8.8 but this rating system will not let us be that refined. I would have given this movie a straight up 9 even a 9.5 and potentially a 10 if it weren't for a few factors. The first and less important is the film had the illussion of being a bit short. [***SPOILERS***]There was no time revealed between Eisenheims childhood romance and 15 tears later when he comes back to Vienna. I could have lived with this as revealing too much spoils the illusion hence is no fun. However my second point is where I have a much more valid issue. I was happy and yet disappointed at the same time by the end of the movie. I was happy that like some artistic movies that end on a downer this one didn't. The world is full of unhappy endings, and as a vast general I don't go to the movies to get reminded of it. So a happy ending with Jessica Biel is an ultra plus in my book. But here comes the prestige of my argument is that at the end of the movie it is all but revealed how he preformed his illusion to fool the Prince and his cronies thereby gaining his childhood love. I think it would have been much more powerful if it was not revealed and it left the audience wondering was the magic real of was it just an illusion. I guess this is why they call it the illusionist but isn Expand
  5. [Anonymous]
    Sep 11, 2006
    8
    A good time with a few faults. This was not Edward's best but Rufus Sewell and Paul Giamatti are amazing and more than make up for it. A good time with a few faults. This was not Edward's best but Rufus Sewell and Paul Giamatti are amazing and more than make up for it. Jessica Biel is distractingly pretty but believable. Expand
  6. JudyT.
    Sep 22, 2006
    7
    A beautiful movie more people should have seen it.
  7. Nov 15, 2014
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Could have build up the character of Crown Prince establishing him as a
    cruel person.....there isn't even one scene at least to establish
    that....He didn't seem to me as a Villain.....Actually I felt sorry for
    him being failed by his man, the foolish chief inspector.....And for
    the surprise element its easy for any film buff to guess that she
    (Biel) was not actually murdered at that night....and from there it is
    just impatient watch till the climax....which ends making us (atleast
    people like me) feeling sorry for the Prince and I just couldn't watch
    that foolish Inspector laughing for being fooled and lost the Prince
    with his incapacity. And there's one question - Since she is a Duchess
    the royal families must have attended her funeral.....And if there
    isn't any funeral and they haven't attended then she must be alive
    somewhere else.....Steven Millhauser...
    Expand

See all 102 User Reviews

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