It is set in turn of the century Vienna so as with many other period pieces you have wonderful settings, costumes. At the start we have a man on stage performing an act of magic who is about to be arrested. We then turn back the clock and tell his story. It is perhaps an overdone way of telling a story but I like it nonetheless.
We have the character of Inspector Uhl as played by Paul Giamatti who narrates the story of Eisenheim's life prior to him being on stage in that moment. We learn of the young love of two people from different walks of life. Eisenheim as played by Edward Norton is a traveling Illusionist who happens to meet the Dutchess Sophia VanTeshen. The Dutchess Sophia VanTeshen is played by Jessica Biel whom performs quite well in this film. They quickly fall in love but are separated by the caste system, him being a peasant and her being a Dutchess. Of course the reality sets in when parents and court members work to part them.
Eisenheim then travels the world forgetting about home to learn the secrets of illusion. When he comes back to Vienna he opens his own show and quickly draws the interest of the Crown Prince Leopold. The Crown Prince Leopold who is played by Rufus Sewell is a ruthless, dangerous, and power hungry man.
The plot thickens when The Crown Prince sends his escort up to be a volunteer from the audience. His escort turns out to be none other than the Dutchess Sophia VanTeshen. Eisenheim then begins to plans on how he can steal her away from him. This is when the real fun of the movie begins. We begin to twist our way through this tangled plot we have many fun events that take place.
As I have mentioned at the beginning of this review I really enjoyed this film. The twists are all fairly original and are very entertaining. As mentioned the costumes are truly beautiful to behold, I can't speak of their period correctness but they are all wonderfully crafted.
I would highly recommend this movie to anyone, for any reason. I truly had a wonderful time watching it and this review is just as fun to write.
I rate this film five out of five smiley Mike heads.