Years later he rocks up in Vienna under the title of The Great Eisenheim, and proceeds to wow the Viennese audiences, including the heir to the Empire, Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell). The plot thickens when we discover that Eisenheim's childhood love is soon to be engaged to Leopold, who has a bit of a reputation for knocking his girlfriends about and occasionally murdering them. Nice chap.
Unsurprisingly, Eisenheim plans to spirit away his lover (Jessica Biel) from under the Crown Prince's nose. He also plans to further freak out the Viennese people by summoning spirits and communicating with dead people on stage. But is it all an illusion or part of a mysterious plan?
The film is beautifully shot and reasonably intriguing throughout, as it always treads the fine line of doubt concerning whether Eisenheim is truly a magician or just an illusionist. You might be thinking that the story and setting smack of The Prestige, and you'd be right. They are very similar films, but for my money The Prestige is by far the better of the two, because The Illusionist is simply too forgettable. So unless 18th Century magic really floats your boat, this one is not worth seeking out.