The Illusionist

Synopsis: In late nineteenth century Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim is reunited with the Duchess von Teschen when she is volunteered from the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances. Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognize each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, they who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences. The Duchess is soon to be wed to the Crown Prince Leopold in what would be for him a marriage solely in pursuit of power: overthrowing his father, the Emperor Leopold, as well as overtaking the Hungarian side of the empire. The Crown Prince is known to use violence against women if it suits his needs or purposes. As such, the Duchess, who realizes that she still loves Eisenheim and he her, can never leave the Crown Prince without it jeopardizing her life. After Eisenheim humiliates the Crown Prince at a private show which results in an inci
Director(s): Neil Burger
Production: Yari Film Group
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 10 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min

It's her! I know it's her!

She wants to tell us something!

- We must do something!

- Sit down!

- Please!

- Hey!

In the name of His Imperial Majesty

and the city of Vienna...

I hereby arrest Eduard Abramovicz...

also known as Eisenheim

the Illusionist...

on charges of disturbing public order...

charlatanism and threats

against the empire!

Leave him alone!

They're arresting him!

They're arresting Eisenheim!

Chief Inspector Uhl.

- You're late.

- My apologies, Your Highness.

I was attending to

the loose ends of the case.

- Are there still loose ends?

- Very few.

Did he do it again?

How does he do it?

I'm afraid I still don't know.

Did you ask him?

He's not talking at this point.

Well, I'm sure

you have... methods...

for that kind of thing.

I want you to put an end to it.

Surely you have something on him.

Something from his past?

Yes. Yes, I think I do.

In fact, we know all about his life.

We've spoken to almost everyone

who ever knew him.

As a boy, I'm told

he had a chance encounter...

with a traveling magician.


One version

of the story was that the man himself...

then vanished...

along with the tree.

Who knows what actually happened?

People began to think he had

some kind of special power...

or at least that

he was a bit different.

And then he met her.

- Don't drop it.

- Careful, you're going to trip.

- Drop it, you muck snipe.

- Oh! Watch out for that hole, alley rat!

- Drop it!

- Come on.

Pick a card.

Put it back in the deck.

Now, watch.

Duchess von Teschen, you can't be

in a place like this. They're peasants.

Remember who you are.

She was brought back to the castle...

and they were forbidden

to see each other.

But soon, they were doing just that.

Over the next few years, they could

always find a way to be together.

Quick, come on.

In China there's a magician

that could make anything disappear-

a house, a wagon, anything.

We'll go visit him. They can't stop us

if we want to be together.

They'll never find us.

Do you promise

you'll take me with you?

One day I will.

One day we'll run away together.

We'll disappear.

There's a secret way to open it.

I wanted a picture.

Sophie, are you there?

- We must hurry! They're coming!

- Duchess von Teschen!

Duchess von Teschen!

- Duchess von Teschen!

- Duchess von Teschen!

Make us disappear.

Make us disappear.

Duchess von Teschen!

Stop. Stop.

- Don't do this.

- Let go!

- Let me go. Let go!

- Your father's waiting for you.

- Let go!

- No!

- Eduard!

- Please, let go!

- No!

- Let me go!

Let her go, please!

- Let go! Stop it!

- Sophie!


- Sophie!

- Eduard!


Stay away from her, or next time...

we'll arrest you and your family.

What happened next remains a mystery.

We do know that

he traveled the world...

that he began to perform

his magic in public...

that he changed his name

to Eisenheim.

And then almost 15 years later...

he appeared in Vienna.

Life and death...

space and time...

fate and chance.

These are the forces

of the universe.

Tonight, ladies and gentleman...

I present to you a man who has

unlocked these mysteries.

From the furthest corners

of the world...

where the dark arts

still hold sway...

he returns to us to demonstrate...

how nature's laws may be bent.

I give you... Eisenheim.

Might I borrow a handkerchief

from someone?

You, madam.

Thank you.

Ah, be patient.

Now, if you please.

I would like to continue

with an examination of time.

From the moment we enter this life,

we are in the flow of it.

We measure it and we mark it,

but we cannot defy it.

We cannot even speed it up

or slow it down.

Or can we?

Have we not each

experienced the sensation...

that a beautiful moment

seemed to pass too quickly...

and wished that

we could make it linger?

Or felt time slow on a dull day...

and wished that we could

speed things up a bit?

I assure you, they're quite real.

Is it real? Let's see.

And you, madam,

where is your handkerchief?


Very good.

Give us something, please.

- Please, give us something. Please.

- What's all this?

We're poor.

- Do you think you're poor?

- Yes.

I want to show you something.

You're not poor.

You have everything

that you need right here.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

And that's yours.

And this too.

I've got the magic one!

- Good morning.

- Good morning.

- Coffee?

- No.

- Strudel? I have two.

- Nothing, thank you.

You look very pleased with yourself.

How are the receipts?

- Not bad. A three-quarter house.

- Well done.

But we're going to do better

than that. Listen to this.

Listen. "There is no argument

that his uncanny displays...

"separate him from the ranks

of garden-variety stage wizards.

"Some of his effects

transcend mere illusion...

"and approach the realm of art.

He is very young

to be so masterful."

Do you see?

We'll pack the house with this review.

We are going to make more money

than you ever dreamed of.

But if it was mechanical.

Maybe he had it wrapped

in some kind of bark?

Oh, I know, of course

I thought of that.

It's the butterflies

I'm trying to work out.

Oh, for Pete's sake.

Invisible wire.

Too obvious. How many men

have you detailed for tonight?

We have eight men inside,

another eight out front.

Perhaps you'll get another look

at your butterflies.


- Come on in.

- Check the last 10 rows there.

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Neil Burger

Neil Norman Burger is an American film and television director, writer and producer known for the fake-documentary Interview with the Assassin (2002), the period drama The Illusionist (2006), Limitless (2011), and the sci-fi action film Divergent (2014), based on the dystopian novel of the same name by Veronica Roth. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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