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The Illusionist (2006)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Screenwriter/director Neil Burger Rating:7.6/10 (8 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by The Cubist on February 5th, 2007:Find all reviews by The Cubist
He talks about what drew him to the short story and why he wanted to make it into a movie. The filmmaker found it very cinematic and expanded upon it for the film. For example, he talks about how he created the character of Sophie as a love interest for Eisenheim. Burger points out that all the actors learned how to do their own sleight of hand tricks whenever possible and reveals how many of the practical illusions were done. He also speaks intelligently about the film’s themes and character motivations. This is an excellent and informative track that covers many aspects of the production.
Reviewed by Glenn Hopp on March 4th, 2007:Find all reviews by Glenn Hopp
The commentary does all the things summarized above, and it is interesting. I wish, though, that the director would have taken out some of the anecdotes (Edward Norton having food poisoning on the day a balcony scene was shot where Eisenheim addresses a crowd of people) and talked some about why he put the camera where he did. There are some striking overhead shots and some very effective long shots--but these are not really explored. He could have spoken more about the distinctive use of light and color for a film with such a memorable look. The commentary is interesting in its content but is weak on style.
Reviewed by msz on September 6th, 2008:Find all reviews by msz
I enjoyed listening to Neil Burgers commentary. Especially interesting (for me) was all the additional information he gave on the practical illusions and "magic tricks" that were used - if I understood that correctly, then a lot less CGI was used as I originally envisioned and a lot more practical effects and "real" illusions (which was quite fitting for the theme of the movie).
Other notable details concern some visual choices for certain scenes since the director envisioned the story as being told from the point of view of Paul Giamatti's character.
All in all, an informative and entertaining commentary.
Reviewed by musíl65 on September 16th, 2015:Find all reviews by musíl65
Burger talks about shooting in Prague, the script, the casting, the actors, the sets, the colours, the budget and the tone of the movie. Good points are details to the legerdemains. The end of the movie is also discussed.

The track is a little bit dry but solid. 7 out of 10.
Reviewed by grimjack on September 28th, 2019:Find all reviews by grimjack
It is a good commentary in that it does what a commentary should. He breaks down the scenes of a film, talking about what they were based on historically, cool tidbits about the locations, talks about the probable meanings behind a characters actions, points out great acting moments he liked, and etc.. However, for a guy who often makes such energetic films, he is rather listless, as if he was worn out from making the film.

But it should be listened to, as it is very informative, especially in explaining which magic tricks were special effects, and how they did those that were not. And he answers questions we arent sure of watching the film about what characters are really thinking and doing.