There's really not that much to say about this movie other than the fact that it was well done; it is almost a study in understatement, driven by the character of Eisenheim, the Illusionist. There's not a great deal of excitement or suspense. Events unfold quietly, at a measured pace.
Eisenheim is in love with Sophie, the Duchess, however since he's the son of a cabinetmaker their romance is essentially impossible . . . at least on the surface. She is taken away from him and he travels the world for many years. During that time, they lose touch and it is arranged for Sophie to marry Crown Prince Leopold, largely in support for the Prince's schemes to gain support from Hungary and become Emperor. Leopold cares little for Sophie other than for political gain. Leopold becomes interested in Eisenheim's fantastic illusions, sparking a reunion between the two childhood friends and a rivalry between the Crown Prince and the Illusionist. Then Sophie is murdered.
The film doesn't deal with any particularly grand abstractions, even seeks to avoid them, but the interactions between the various characters are fascinating and the acting is superb, even if the conclusion is somewhat predictable. The illusions are also neat to watch, so I thoroughly recommend the film.
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