The illusionist is a film made back in 2006 by none other than Neil Burger who is known for his exceptional directions. The film is based on the novel “Eisenheim the Illusionist” by the famous writer Steven Millhauser.
How did it begin:
It is said that Neil when first read the story was impressed but unsure for how it could be reformed into a movie. A challenge was certainly to preserve the essence, the beautiful and mysterious parts of the story keeping in mind the purpose which is eventually to create a dramatic context, according to Neil. Neil emerged the few characters by himself which had no reference or existence in the original story and also shaped some main characters with very fewer mentions in the original one. Taking an example of the crown prince and his fiance which were the result of imagination and creativity of Neil, and the character of inspector Uhl, who turned to be one the main characters of the film while he did not have many references in the original story by Steven. Neil took a challenge of describing the magician’s head and mysteries from the viewpoint of the Inspector.
Neil made the film look as realistic as he could, took all the examples from real life and displayed everything about magic that the audience should have known. He wanted to make the film believable and honest. He made the story with a motive to show how people perceive truth and illusion and usually get to the conclusion of blurring the boundaries that differentiate them. His purpose was to challenge the laws of nature and the universe.
The movie to me kept the purposes it wanted to serve that is illusion. I felt when the film had that quote “Stories, like conjuring tricks, are invented because history is inadequate to our dreams.” I guess that the producer’s point of view must have been to bind the audience and then show them how something unexpected happens and they succeeded. Till the end of the story, nobody could have told what was going to happen and what was the reality. What I understood was that the Inspector’s loyalty to his career and his respect for the magician was the beauty of the film. The movie’s moral premise for me is summarised to a viewpoint that supernatural belief might turn your life into eternal one but belief in scientific materialism can lead it to death. When watching the movie, there were several moments of grace to me but importantly it was when Eisenheim asks Sophie if she really wanted to live with him and she replied with a yes which made us believe how committed she was to the marriage as a bride and how brave she was to accept this man with all the miracles knowing it is going to lead a way with all the difficult roads. Just one loophole in the movie where Skeptic takes somebody’s life while in real life it is Skeptic that takes his own life because no one else chooses it. There is that one moment in the film where we all feel like the magician has some powers that just reminds us of our existence and questions it as well kind of illusion.