Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Film Review: The Illusionist

So I watched yet another Oscar nominated film last night, this time it was The Illusionist.

Some of you may recall that this movie came out at about the same time as another film about magic: The Prestige. Fitting, then, that they happen to be facing off in the Oscar category for Achievement in Cinematography. (The Prestige is also nominated for Achievement in Art Direction)

Upon viewing the film, I realized why The Illusionist received no other Oscar noms.

This movie is soooooooooooooooooooo obvious. I was stunned. If you are fooled by any of the "swerves" in this film, you either don't watch enough movies or were dropped on your head as a child.

I couldn't believe it. Does the director/writer (same guy - no surprise) actually think we don't see the transparency of the "mystery"? And because the mystery is so obvious, the Usual Suspects-style ending is laughable (not to mention it makes no sense in the context of Paul Giamatti's character).

How the f@#& did this movie score a 75% on rottentomatoes? The characters and cast might have been decent, but the story is pathetic.

Thumbs down.

Rent the more entertaining and comparably rated The Prestige instead.


Saira said...

hmm.. Oddly enough I found the Prestige predictable and The Illusionist the more dramatic flick. Started to get quite bored halfway through The Prestige.

PS said...

Interesting. I did see most of the twists in The Prestige coming, but not as the events were unfolding - in The Illusionist, there's no deception at all.

Besides, one aspect of The Prestige (the most outlandish/"supernatural") is pretty much unpredictable if one assumes the events are "explainable" and can occur in the real world. Since the mystery of The Prestige is pure science fiction, I find it hard to believe anyone would claim The Illusionist is not the more obvious film.

In terms of "dramatic", well, I suppose you could debate the point in either's favour. The Illusionist certainly had a fair share of over-dramatic acting, but I chalk part of that up to the deception being perpetrated in the plot. (The characters are acting, so the actors are acting like they're acting - make sense?)

The Prestige was all about deception/counter-deception as one would expect in a battle between magicians. I found that film somewhat maddening because I couldn't simply sit back and enjoy the plot - I was constantly trying to see the twists coming. So, in that sense, I suppose you could argue The Illusionist was more relaxing - it didn't challenge me. :P

Jenna said...

Hve not seen Prestige but fell asleep twice while watching the Illusionist-boring:)