Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Illusionist(2006)

Magical. Entertaining. Witty.

That’s how I would say about The Illusionist starring Edward Norton, Jessica Biehl, directed by Neil Burger.This is based on the short story titled Eishenhiem the illusionist by Steven Millhauser¬† I have previously reviewed The Prestige and find that this film is in a class of its own with The Prestige.

Films on magic and magicians have always drawn my fancy and add to that a dash of wit and intelligensia, you have the perfect mix.

The Illusionist is about a magician named Eishenheim and his love for a Duchess. The fiance of the Duchess, a crown prince, tries to prevent them from joining, intent on his own plans to secure the crown. But a series of incidents change everything and ultimately causes the downfall of the prince.

The witty and clever way the director has packed the story is worth watching it. It kind of stimulates your interest and makes you chuckle at times. The last reel is a must watch as you come to know how the magician manages to pull of his extraordinary illusions, fooling the Crown Prince and winning his girl in the process.

The tricks are a delight to watch-the orange tree, the painting trick, the sword act, the death experience all are entertaining and speak of great team work.

Yes, Edward Norton does pull a Houdini off this one!

The Orange Tree Trick

The Sword Scene

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The Last Lear

I strongly recommend you watch this movie.

The Last Lear-the title was intriguing. The star cast was a sure draw. What were Amitabh, Priety, Arjun Rampal doing in here? And the director-Rituparno Ghosh.It sure did sound interesting. When the movie was telecast a few times in Zee Studios, it drew my attention. And I was mesmerised.

The dialogues are in English, considering the star cast’ BG. Of course, you can always dare to break the mold and be a lion.¬† The performances are intense.

The story is simple-a brilliant,¬† aging Shakesperaean actor by name of Harish/Harry is visited by an eccentric director Siddharth to star in his new movie. Reluctant because he had never done movies except stage plays, Harish refuses. But Siddhart convinces him to take on the challenging role(a splendid scene where both excel at every frame-Bachan’s demo, Rampal’s silent persuation, beauty.)

The story is told in narration by the only leading ladies in the cast in their POV. The smallest human elements are brought out splendidly here-the nurse with a suspecting boyfriend, the reporter who comes to interview Harish, the last scene where Shabnam(Priety) meets AB, mumbling Shakespeare all along, wonderful.

In a film like this, some may find it boring and lacking in action. But it is as fantastic as a film should be. The scene where AB interviews a passerby to confirm his theories/deductions is a sample of the quick witted dialogue exchange and amply highlights the intellectual level of the actors involved. Equally moving is the scene where Bachan crawls on his knees to Rampal demanding one last chance.

The nuances of a stage actor are brought out excellently by AB(who else?) The man is amazing at this age and is damn lucky to get a script like this. He outshines in every frame till the last. Underplaying an intense role is no easy feat. Considering I have myself acted in Hamlet in my school function, I would say that every lover of the Bard and AB will love this film.

 

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