The ending of The Illusionist

The Illusionist

As you can tell by the title of this post, I'm about to reveal the ending of the film The Illusionist. If you haven't seen it and don't want the ending spoiled, stop reading now.

Okay, so I sort of liked this movie. I liked the mood, I liked Edward Norton, and I was generally invested throughout. About 30 minutes in, however, I realized something that perhaps unfairly colored my perception of the rest of the movie: magicians, as in the real-life profession kind, probably wouldn't like this movie. And that was especially made clear in the context of seeing Ricky Jay in the trailer for The Prestige, a movie about dueling magicians. I don't think Ricky Jay would like The Illusionist.

To explain why, I have to reveal the twist at the end of the movie, portrayed almost sycophantically in a Shyamalan-like manner. Throughout the movie, the magic of the Illusionist becomes more and more supernatural, both to the audience and to the characters of the movie. Because the city's chief inspector believes that the Illusionist was able to conjure the ghost of a woman who was murdered, the inspector becomes willing to solve the crime despite the fact the actual murder is Austria's prince and naming him so will ruin the inspector's career. The twist, eventually figured out by the inspector, is that the Illusionist has no supernatural abilities, and that his conjuring of the woman was completely fabricated, and that she is in fact alive and able to escape with him into romantic happiness.

The problem, and I think what would be the aforementioned real-life magicians' problem, is that the non-sleight-of-hand magic is portrayed in the film with computer special effects, to the point where they are beyond the possibilities of magic performance in early-1900s Vienna. Thus, the audience is purposefully deceived so that the twist ending can be suprising. Let me give you an example. Near the beginning of the film, the Illusionist grows a small orange tree from a pot, which both audiences see grow entirely from bud to tree, with edible oranges included. During the ending's reveal, we are supposed to be convinced of the mundaneness of the trick by several pages of drawings of an orange tree depicting many gears.

While this may be a sufficient explanation in the domain of the movie, it is so laughably unrealistic as to render the whole thing arbitrary. He could've done anything -- turn an elephant into a mouse, have three unicorns galloping on the stage, make a 30 foot pile of Viennese sausage appear -- and the movie could've handwaved it away with a drawing of gears. The fact that the "real" magic in the movie wasn't grounded in the actual craft destroyed my suspension of disbelief, even if in an unfair way. But I think that without computer special effects, the filmmakers might've worked harder at designing elaborate tricks that still could've left the audiences befuddled.

How strange that The Illusionist needs its audiences to suspend disbelief by having them believe that the magic performed is merely trickery, not wizardry.

Update: Compare the above to my thoughts on the ending of The Prestige.


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Exactly. And the trick with the conjuring of the "ghosts" doesn't even get the perfunctory explanation that the orange tree one does. We're just left to assume it's somehow an illusion and not wonder how he got that intangible boy to run around the theater. Just sloppy, in my opinion.

Although you're probably wrong about Ricky Jay; he was a technical consultant on the movie.

Josh Bell | Sun, 09/10/2006 - 7:46pm

Ah, I guess you're right, unless he was just helping Ed Norton with the sleight-of-hand stuff.

crazymonk | Sun, 09/10/2006 - 7:59pm

And I just read the LV Weekly review, which says what I was trying to say, but more eloquently:

http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2006/08/31/illusion.html

crazymonk | Sun, 09/10/2006 - 8:05pm

you're wrong. the movie implies that giamatti believes it was trickery, but my opinion is that he is imagining that: the girl is really dead.

jbg. | Mon, 09/11/2006 - 11:48am

let me explain. the final shots show giamatti "working it out" but keep cutting back to him, even ending with him, delighted at norton's "master scheme." but what evidence are we given that this was actually what happened? it's all shown "through" giamatti's eyes, because in the end, he's become something of a romantic, believing in norton's superior ability instead of his desperation. we see little bits that are supposed to be giamatti's suspicion of "how he pulled it off," like the blood-drenched horse and the "sleeping potion," and his conviction that the medical examiner and the old man at the train are the same person: but i don't buy it.

remember earlier, when he's suggesting a possibility for how the orange tree was performed? norton says "that's one way to do it," but of course, that's not the same thing as saying "yes, that's how i did it."

giamatti figures out "one way of doing it," but in actuality, the girl is dead and he does not have a happily ever after.

jbg. | Mon, 09/11/2006 - 11:53am

yes, but after giamatti's epiphany, doesn't it cut to ed norton meeting with jessica beal in the middle of the forest? I seem to remember that shot being outside of the in-giamatti's-head flashbacks.

plus, your explanation isn't at all supported by the scene where he gets the orange tree explanation from the kid, when the locket gets pickpocketed. sorry, jbg, but i think you're giving the movie too much credit.

i should go back and watch mamet's house of games again. now *that's* a good movie about trickery.

crazymonk | Mon, 09/11/2006 - 12:35pm

This movie looked pretty bad overall. Who was the director again? I had never even heard of him. But the Prestige, now that looks good and has pedigree to boot. I think many people went to the theaters thinking they were seeing that and eneded up with Ed Nortan and Jessica Beal.

New York Anthony | Mon, 09/11/2006 - 1:27pm

The director is Neil Burger, whose only other movie is the pseudo-documentary Interview with the Assassin, a fabricated interview of JFK's second shooter.

I wouldn't recommend The Illusionist, but it certainly wasn't bad because of Ed Norton or Jessica Beal. But you're right, The Prestige looks much better.

crazymonk | Mon, 09/11/2006 - 1:49pm

crazymonk, you're a damn fool. the locket-orange-tree coda is just norton revealing himself after his "disappearance" and showing gratitude for giamatti's solving of the crime.

think about it: the whole scene with beil and norton in the cabin is a set-up: he gives you a clue that he's going to pull off some incredible scam that will secure her escape. then, we are shown over and over again that she's really, actually dead.

i don't think i'm giving it too much credit at all: your whole beef is dependant on a misinterpretation of the ending.

she's dead. or at least, we're left to wonder if she is or not. the scenes with norton and biel alive are a fantasy.

jbg | Mon, 09/11/2006 - 1:54pm

We never are shown over and over again that she's dead. We see one shot, with the family doctor, of her body with a gash in it, and that's it. That was the only trick in the entire movie that was actually physically possible.

crazymonk | Mon, 09/11/2006 - 2:01pm

this movie wasn't supposed to be so thoroughly questioned. you're reading too far into it.

Daniel | Mon, 09/18/2006 - 2:11pm

They talk about the use of CGI in this interview:

http://creativescreenwritingmagazine.blogspot.com/2006/08/illusionist-qa...

But I don't think they satisfactorily explained away its use.

crazymonk | Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:31pm

I just saw this movie, and overall, I'm not very good at "reading between the lines", so to speak, and even with the spelled out ending, I didn't really understand it, so I went to these reviews for help. After reading these, I think both of you have a valid point, but I think the movie director intended it to actually be what Giamatti saw it to be. They didn't want you to think about it so much as to think "But what if Giamatti is wrong?" If that was the case, I don't think they would have ended it where they ended it.

I dunno. Just my two cents.

Sophia | Fri, 09/29/2006 - 7:14pm

[...] Like my post about The Illusionist a few weeks ago, I’m about to reveal the ending of Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want the ending spoiled, stop reading now. [...]

Can anyone explain how the blood got on the horse ad what happend with the sword in the stable? I saw a bad copy and can't figure out what's going on...

tinka | Fri, 10/27/2006 - 8:43am

Need I remind you that this is in fact a film. A magical journey into the realm of the impossible. Don't become so analytical as you grow up to forget to have a certain amount of intrigue into the nature of the how and why the universe works.... In other words try to hold onto the wonder of things, rather than finding out an exact explanation for why everything works. For in finding life's answers you will soon find the end to your joy. Why be excited about something that you can scientifically or in other ways easily explain away.
There were some things in the movie that were inconsistent and yes even impossible...in the 1920's is when they started to come out with all kinds of different mechanical devises. And it was the start of more mechanized magic... However in china they had been using mechanical devices for years. And the Egyptians had there fare share of magic. They used to put a mixture of herbs and metal in the bottom of an urn...then fill it with water, and when they dumped it out it had the appearance of blood. This isn't a mechanical device but the solution is very simple. And now that you know the answer you have sacrificed the wonder, amazement, and joy of the illusion just to have your higher sense of enlightenment accomplished. This was the underling hint in "the illusionist". The subtle conundrum that Shyamalan was trying to get you to see. The Crowness (prince) was trying to explain everything away and figure the world out in simplistic scientific manner. He also was arrogant and pompous in him manner and demeanor, as he simply and cooly explained away Norton's illusions. In the end the prince was a bad bad man...but he had not as yet done anything to merit his death. An ass yes, but that was his only crime. The movie did suggest that he beat on women and for that reason alone got what was due. All in all this is the second movie that Shyamalan has come out with in which he kills off the character that doesn't believe/hold-onto the wonder of life and mystery. In he's second most resent movie (Lady in the Water) he has the cynical film critic meet his demise via a nine-foot-tall-man-eating-plant-dog-thing.
So all in all you are right there are some unexplainable and completely unfathomable things that happen in the movie "the Illusionist". Other than the simple explanation through unmythological means of computer animation. But please don't become one of the boring adults that has the world figured out...it is a film; sit back, relax, and let your imagination run wild. Because the end the only way of staying young forever is to fight for your ability to fudge the principals that govern the universe. Life isn't changed, inventions arn't invented, and epic story's aren't written by people who kill imagination for a "quick intellectual fix, and the end to wonder in our present dieing world." So please get the subtle hint that Shyamalan is trying to convey, and hold onto your imagination...let the impossible be impossible, then take that one step further and dream of a way to make your imagination a reality.

-ProphetFool....servant seeking truth, love, beauty, freedom, and imagination; first four are from a movie...but they are accurate.

p.s. I am not saying to not try to find out the truth in life and everyday media and events. I am also not saying not to question the how and why of the way things work. I agree with several of your critiques...all I am saying is that in your search for truth you remember to let yourself be amazed.

ProphetFool | Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:18am

1) The Illusionist was directed by Neil Burger, not Shyamalan.

2) I don't think you got my point. I was complaining not about the plot of the film, but about the craft in making the movie. To me, a movie has to be well-made to be enjoyed. If you read my thoughts about The Prestige, you'll see that I'm quite capable of enjoying the unexplainable:

http://crazymonk.org/archives/2006_10_22/649

crazymonk | Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:28am

Hummm...a short comment for ProphetFool. Your pseudo-philosophical "ramblings" prove quite amusing, thank you for the brief departure from any real deep thoughts. Are you really commenting on this film, or do you just enjoy reading your own postings? I think the latter, although I tend to have a grasp-for-the-obvious ;-)

graspfortheobvious | Sun, 11/12/2006 - 1:09pm

Sorry to bring up an old topic but... hey crazymonk nice to see someone else on the net from vegas! any who... I just seen the movie tonight for the first time and as any other "Movie" it was nice some of the "real bad photoshop/chopshop CGI annoyed me, but hey they where trying to go for the turn-of-the-century film with flickering screen and everything why the hard cut-out lines around all the entities Eisenheim conjured.

but on to my point I think giamatti's "delusion" are all part of Eisenheim's "illusion" at the end of the movie, distract from the truth or in this case do the one thing every show on the strip does, leaves you lost in another world for a moment letting you play on what you seen.

and Edward Norton was only credited with "Eisenheim" so I do believe it's all meant to leave you painting your own assumptions just as it did giamatti!

in all good movie!

Aquilo | Wed, 01/10/2007 - 9:34pm

Your all a bunch of idiots. If I were you i would never comment on a film ever again, not even in the car ride home with the spouse you'll never have. Of course its all fake and unimaginably unrealistic. Who cares. The orang tree isn't even explained. If the origional poster would even read over his own description, a set of gears creating the tree to rise with branchs to also spout could never explain getting a whole frickin real orange to come out the end and be a real orange. Now if your going to be a total idiot and comment on stupid nothings of how the film doesn't work then the only way that all could work (and it could work except for the real oranges) would be for balloons to come out the ends of the final tree limbs with water tubes running to them to fill then giving them the appearance of oranges. Now that you all see my point on how absolutely everyone in this forum is completely incompetant in commenting on film I would also like to say that the origional poster should have stopped writing while he was behind. this is because the orange tree definetly represents something and nothing else would make sense to start the movie except of course for another fruit bearing tree to be the trick. This is simply explained by the fact that his first appearance is the begining and birth of a new era of magic and entertainment. That it is not only a birth of something but an unimaginably quick and extremely well based birth, just like the frickin orange tree becoming itself almost instantly and also seeming atleast to be real. Now the butterflys with the hanky also mean something idiots. He just absolutely without any form of dought swept away the audience and took away their ability to have any form of dissapointment or for that matter un-amazement at his show. He stole something from the audience (the hanky) but he also stole the audience. Get it. I hope you do and maybe you learned a little bit about how a story is made significant and how things have meaning and are anything but arbiteary in a good film, like the retard who origionally wrote the post who liked the mood and seemed interested. He says things like this because its better than his anal asian porn he constantly feeds himself and it seems to have a better story to it but he couldn't tell because his IQ isn't quite that of room temperature. But again I hope you never right on film forms or talk to people about movies again without having a frickin clue what the hell your talking about you bunch of LOSERS.

Adam | Fri, 01/12/2007 - 10:42pm

hey idiots on more thing. the old guy doctor at the end who tells paul giamatti that "she is dead and he can't see her" is the old magician at the beginning. when the movie says, "This is the part of his life which no one knows about. Edward left to travel the world and when he returned his name was eisenhiem." he left to go find the frickin old magician and as you can see he frickin found him. he learned how to make things dissapear after all, even if the old bastard didn't show up at the end you would have to be an idiot not to assume that he learned the trick from him when he left to travel the world. Not to mention that there is no word for the stupidity of someone who can't associate that the old guy magician is the old guy doctor. that much more of unbelievable act to be that stupid than any of eisenhiems tricks in the movie. word to those idtiots who didn't match up that old guys two appearances (like the absolute shame a person who origionally posted), don't watch Tron. You won't appreciate a frickin thing seeing as how all of the people from the real world come back as new characters in the Tron world. and if you morons have already seen Tron then i probably just blew your frickin minds. retards!

Adam | Fri, 01/12/2007 - 10:57pm

You are all totally misguided. The whole point of the movie is the power of the cinema. We walk into a darkly lit room, watch a flickering light projected onto a wall -- it is a metaphor for our own flickering existence. This is the whole point of the movie which none of you, with your limited intelligence, seem to have grasped. I am really disappoined with the level of intelligence on this web site, and hope I can teach you something in my brief time here. Salaam.

movie_maven | Sat, 01/13/2007 - 6:11pm

All of these explinations are very nice and everything, and yes, I have read them all. Originally I came on this website to figure out what the ending was all about and in doing so, I figured it out myself. The whole point of the movie was to leave the audience left wondering about it. The movie doesn't tie up enough loose ends, there are too many things that just aren't explained that need to be for it to have a definate ending and meaning. The movie leaves everyone either wondering what they just saw or left with their own interpretation of it. That is what movies like this try and do. They try and create this type of argument between everyone. When people come onto this site, just like I did, they come looking for an answer and everyone usually always leaves with one because they formulate thier own opinion based on what they have seen and what they have read. The whole movie is people trying to figure out how Norton does stuff and in the end they all have their own explination. It is the same way with the audience members, we all have our own explination for how everything happened or worked because it makes us feel happy. We always want to solve the riddle, even if it ruins the who thing completely, because it gives us satisfaction. No one is an idiot, no on is retarded, its just an opinion, everyone has their own. Think about it for a little, what everyone on this board is doing now, is exactly what happened in the movie and what it was about. Of course, this is just my opinion and a lot of people will disagree and I encourage it because that is best part about things like this.

Connor | Sun, 01/14/2007 - 9:20pm

Basically, just come up with your own opinion and have fun with it. Everything doesn't always have to have an answer and be solved. That is the fun part about all this stuff, but why do people have to be idiots and retards for something that unless you are the script writer or producer, you can't even prove to be a sure thing??

Connor | Sun, 01/14/2007 - 9:26pm

There is no doubt that the orange trick was meant to be trickery, as the notebook was intended (poorly) to explain. And are we to believe that he could train butterflies? And its not like it was possible to find a holographed child to walk trough the theatre. People were trying to touch him, and their hands were going right through him. Furthermore, when Norton was finished resurrecting Sophie, there was an attempted arrest only to find him vanish. His body was distorted before disappearing. Are we to believe that it was all a hologram or some sort of fake Eisenheim? Wouldn't that suggest that a fake eisenheim was performing the entire magic show? He had a workshop, where some of his "slight of hand" tricks were manufactured, but I believe the plot wanted us to see his magic grow to some sort of divinity as his emotions did.
The twisted ending was confusing, to say the least. When my "oh my god" reacton finally wore off I felt like it left a lot to be explained. For example: people say that the "happily ever after ending was merely the officers idea. I'm not sue, but if I had to guess I would say that when the flashbacks wore off then the movie ended outside his head on the prarie where they met. But If the prince really didnt kill her, an he was indeed framed, then why didnt he try harder to explain that to the officer? The movie clearly wants us to think that they pulled off the final trick so that they could peacefully live together with no Prince stalking them.
Even with the holes, the movie was great. It was enchanting and interesting, and the mere fact that were talking about it is a testament to the quality of the film. Lets try not to guage how possible his tricks were, because they were CLEARLY impossible. Take it for what it is, a movie, and have fun with it.

brenden | Mon, 01/15/2007 - 11:30pm

Now if anyone on this website had half of any sort of brain stem they would watch the ending with the directors commentary before they come onto a stupid post and start bsing about things they really did not look into... The ending is most definately not what happened..they entire movie is about perception. The ending Giamatti saw in his head was just that...in his head...that was the way he percieved it. That is straight from the words of the director/writer. There is no true ending. Personally, on a better note, i believe the movie was stunning and remarkable...it far surpassed The Prestige

Mason | Thu, 01/18/2007 - 9:37am

Another thing the director explained was that the politics of the time played an important part of the story. The politics of the Prince being immune to the law. So, in order for E to get around this dictatorial premise, he had to carefully, and at length, for years, plan an elaborate set of illusions, in a Columbo like fashion, that would lead both the Prince and the Cop to the end, which was the Cop going back to find the evidence that was planted, telling the Prince's father of the Princes imagined murder of the girl (which the cop believed happened), the father sending the troops to take the Prince, and the Prince, in turn, committing suicide. So all of the movies illusions were of the grand design to circumvent the monarchy, free the trapped girl, and for E to get his love. It's very much a fairy tell and a love story. Very well done. The whole movie was completed for only 7 million dollars with some top notch actors. Not bad. Two thumbs up!

Jeff | Sun, 01/21/2007 - 3:49pm

I like this movie

Marco | Thu, 01/25/2007 - 9:16pm

Amazing that some people cant even discuss the various possibilities of a movies ending without resorting to insulting the intelligence of others. Ridiculous.

We often forget that writers sometimes intentionally create ambiguity in a movies ending and leave it up to the viewers to come to their own conclusions. Believe whatever you prefer.

Jacob | Sun, 02/04/2007 - 9:50pm

You guys all need to just relax and get over yourselves, if you have the amount of spare time neccesary to sit here and bicker like old women you seriously need a hooby. Just take the movie at face value and like it or not, the ending is the way it is. Its a good movie with cool special effects and great ators so just sit back and relax.

P.S. I'm 13 years old and i probably have more common sense than all of you combined, (i would take that as a hint).

Tyler | Sun, 02/11/2007 - 10:38am

The movie was great. I just finished watching it for the first time. Jessica Biel is so hot! If you get done with the movie with all these sort of great feelings and puzzeling questions in your mind.. I'm sure that's what the producers had in mind.

Dan | Fri, 02/16/2007 - 10:39pm

The one person i completely agree with on this dorum is Marco well said Marco he did not go on about how the stuff was impossible in real life it is not about possible na dimpossible it is just a film that is meant for entertainment...nothing more nothing less o and btw i like this movie also

Andy | Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:05pm

i wish you could edit these posts i spelt so much wrong meh who cares its the internet its meant to be informal

Andy | Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:06pm

o sorry and one more thing thank you for telling me the ending when i watched the film the screen went black near the end and i didnt get to see the ending so thank you again

Andy | Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:07pm

The movie was very good. Even if you just take it as what it is, entertaining. Obviously the writers left things untied but like Connor and Brenden said (very well I might add) the movie doesnt have to be over analyzed and certainly we shouldn't be getting to caught up in our own points of view we cannot listen to another's and result to calling names and insulting each other like children. and like Mason said, watch the director's commentary to seek more answers if that's what will satisfy your curiousity. no one knows what really happened. just make it whatever you want. assume she is dead. assume they really did live together ina secluded cabin. assume his tricks are real or assume they are just tricks. assume whatever you like and tie up the ends yourself if thats what you really want but really, comming on the internet and acting like that is silly. though i am sure none of the people i am refering to are going to comeback and read any of these posts. i guess this is a message to whoever comes here to read the posts.

stephanie | Tue, 02/20/2007 - 11:05pm

Did anybody even realize that the locket had both a butterfly and the orange tree on it? What are people's thoughts on that?

soccerjunkie | Fri, 03/02/2007 - 10:03pm

I just watched the ending three times and i guess that speaks to the quality of this film-as well as the somewhat puzzling revelation. Now that I've read that the writer intended the ending as a subjective interpretation by the Inspector, I don't feel like such an idiot. Of course, The Sixth Sense completely surprised me so I admit I'm not a very good chess player. The ending certainly wasn't as facile as at the sixth sense, therefore more intriguing. As far as the tricks go, let's presume they were all doable so we can have more fun figuring out the puzzle-which isn't even there per the writer. But I think it all comes down to the final image of the two butterflies as the very last shot. To me it suggests a combination of metaphysical and empirical explanations. The former hinges upon accepting the concept of relativity of time as well the importance of time in Norton's plan. Throughput the film he constantly checks his watch. He takes time to check his watch twice in spite of the PI hot on his heels. Evidently he must enter the train at a precise moment for the magic to occour. We hear him say,"What is dying, really?" Indeed, Norton acts unsurprised throughout the film as if in a play he's rehearsed before. Everything must happen precisely as planned for the "Butterfly Effect" to successfully occour. In any case, this is the PI's conclusion and the writer seems to be challenging us to find a better explanation.

keith froelich | Sun, 03/04/2007 - 3:57am

How can a movies ending be so unacceptable and thrilling at the same time? The Illusionist was so creative I would recommend it to anyone that likes to think as well as believe. It was a magical tour of romance played out by some very fine actors.

Richard L. Berke | Tue, 03/06/2007 - 1:31pm

Adam,

Despite your condescending way of "righting", I think you sir are the idiot for believing that film interpretations are anything but subjective.

Eric | Fri, 04/13/2007 - 7:15am

I just saw this movie today, and i have to say it was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It was a beautiful story that was just as beautifully portrayed by the wonderful lineup of actors in it. I was so sad for norton's character for a great portion of the movie, seeming to be the magician driven mad by the loss of his beloved, becoming obsessed with the notion of ressurection. I had come to the same conclusion that giamatti's character had come to, only about two minutes sooner. It clicked to me when Eisenheim had stolen the locket and was getting on the train. All in all, i'd reccomend it to everyone i know. Two thumbs up, and there'd be more if i had more hands!

Rasta Jon | Mon, 04/16/2007 - 9:49pm

" Near the beginning of the film, the Illusionist grows a small orange tree from a pot, which both audiences see grow entirely from bud to tree, with edible oranges included. "

This trick was performed in 1800 by Houdini, if you google around you can find more information on how it is performed.

Nial | Mon, 04/30/2007 - 10:45am

I didn't know that, and I'm glad you posted about it. Still, I think that heightens my frustrations with the film, rather than mitigating it. If it really was performed with a complex automaton, and even if they had to do it with CGI for budget reasons, then why not have it appear that way? Or at the very least, the first time it's shown, show it from the audience's distant perspective. Then, at the end of the film, show a close-up of the trick making it clear that it's really a complex automaton. Instead, the filmmakers decided to use a hyper-real close-up shot of the trick that in no way could be mistaken for a cog-and-gear machine.

crazymonk | Mon, 04/30/2007 - 10:58am

um to the guy who wrote this you are wrong, this is not sloppily done and based on specual effects. it was originally a short story and adapted into a film not originally written for it. next the fact that the movie is called the illusionist and its about illusion it is pure genius that the director created a film which tricked all of us and showed us illusions from the truth. sure we wonder how he did that tricks and if it was a hologram but that is his job to trick us. regardless of those stupid tricks it isnt the plot of the story, it is only subsidiary plots which lead to the main. the two lovers "disappearing" is the plot. remember she said "make me disappear." then norton later on said maybe next time ill make you disappear. therefore they made each other disappear. everyone thought they were dead and now live in the middle of no where, thus, disappearing with an illusion. the movie is very good and tricked us all.

phil | Mon, 06/11/2007 - 11:57pm

well i thought it was a good movie. The ending made me think about everything and kinda made me go ahh! but at the same time what? but you guys its just a movie sometimes you should just except it and stop trying to over analyze things because it ruins the fun of it.

lisa | Thu, 06/14/2007 - 2:06pm

your all retarded...the movie is awesome..homer simpson could figure it out

justin | Mon, 06/18/2007 - 12:04am

i'am really impressed!!

sesso | Wed, 06/20/2007 - 12:22am

By the way, the orange tree is a real trick that was used by a magician named Jean Robert Houdin, and the gears and cogs are how the trick is actually performed. Edward Norton also performed his own tricks in the movie, and Ricky Jay did actually like the movie, he was one of the trainers who helped Edward Norton.

Annika | Tue, 06/26/2007 - 9:55am

Yes, you're not the first person to point out that the orange tree trick is based in reality. Still, I don't think it looked that realistic, historically. You know what would have been awesome? If they had animated the tree based on the real design, instead of just an arbitrary CG effect.

Edward Norton performed his own sleight-of-hand tricks, as I have mentioned several times. He obviously did not do the orange tree or ghostly apparition stuff.

Just because Ricky Jay was hired by the movie, it does not mean that he liked it. He may have liked it, sure, but I'd be a little surprised.

crazymonk | Tue, 06/26/2007 - 10:09am