starring Paul Giamatti, Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell
screenplay by Neil Burger, based on a story by Steven Millhauser
directed by Neil Burger
starring Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps, Anthony Mackie
screenplay by Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden
directed by Ryan Fleck
by Walter Chaw Out of the gate, Neil Burger's The Illusionist threatens to become the Viennese magician version of Amadeus, with Paul Giamatti's Inspector Uhl subbing for Salieri and Eisenheim the Illusionist (Edward Norton) his rabbit-hatted Mozart. But the film resolves itself in no time into something a good deal more mundane: a twisty crime drama complete with gauzy Guy Maddin visuals that cements Norton as the gravitas-heavy young actor most likely to be cast as Heathcliff in a badly-considered community theatre adaptation of Wuthering Heights. It's tedious and protracted, if not otherwise offensive--an elaborate piece of fluff that does its little tricks to the medium-delight of its tiny, undemanding audience before fading into the wings. Though it's tempting to laud it for having no pretensions to greatness, it's equally tempting to stay home and laud it from there.