Sunday, August 20, 2006

Welcome to the Grand Illusion

Watching Neil Burger's sumptiously beautiful film THE ILLUSIONIST at the Arclight Theatre one night after struggling through ULTRAVIOLET on DVD was like savoring a dinner crafted by a master chef hours after choking down a 10-year-old Almond Joy.

THE ILLUSIONIST is old-fashioned. It's free of MTV editing. There's no CGI. It's a period piece that doesn't star Johnny Depp. (Although it does have Jessica Biel, whom I last saw fighting vampires while wearing an Ipod in BLADE:TRINITY.) But what it excels at is telling a story: a romantic, gripping story, where each scene draws you into the next, where you care about the characters and demand a resolution that somehow gives each of them what he or she deserves. Even when I saw some parts of the story coming, I didn't care, because I was in the grip of a master storyteller and I could enjoy the trip even when I recognized the route.

There's a reason THE ILLUSIONIST sold out showing after showing at the Arclight yesterday, at $14 a ticket. See it. It's far better than a summer movie deserves to be.

No comments: