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Film Review - The Illusionist

We just saw "The Illusionist". I liked it. The period details were good, and the feeling was generally pretty plausible. They, of course, prefaced it with "Based on true events" which generally means that they will play fast and loose with any well known historical characters who happen to stumble into frame. This was, of course, what they did here.

The villain of the piece is "Archduke Leopold". Archduke Leopold is a fiction, who seems to have been conflated with Archduke Rudolf, who died, with his mistress, under mysterious circumstances twenty years before this film is set.

The actual Crown Prince at the time this film is set was Franz Ferdinand, a far more dull and agreeable sort of Royal, who was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, starting the First World War.

This aside, I did enjoy the film, and did not spend it saying "Peshaw, what poppycock" about anything more than the Imperial Royal Family.

They claim that they used very little "movie magic" and focused on using the actual techniques of early 20th Century illusionists. I find that rather remarkable, given the convincing illusions they presented, but I suppose I will take them at their word.

The only other problem for it for me was the clever secret scheme that underlay the plot of the film, which I won't spoil for you, but which had the intricate complexity--and low probability of success, of something you might have seen in a Mission Impossible episode in the '60s.

I would give it a B for story telling and a B for history. You could do a lot worse with your entertainment dollars just now.