often, magic is about creating a diversion from where the trick is really occurring. the same can be said for a film like this, or the usual suspects, or another ed norton film – primal fear. the success of the end is based upon the setup and how well the filmmaker has distracted your critical eye with fanciful distractions. this one didn’t really get me, but i didn’t really get it either. that is, it didn’t fool me, but i didn’t quite figure it all out before the reveal either. overall, i found the plot to be enjoyable and intriguing enough to capture my attention throughout. ultimately, though, that doesn’t much matter because, for me anyway, a film is about much more than its plot.
i can see why the academy nominated it for its cinematography, but i don’t foresee it winning. ed norton does a good job and so does giamatti, but neither are as impressive here as they’ve been in the past. i liked norton’s character because of the way he would weave commentary into his acts. philip glass’ score is good, but mostly a rehash of his previous motifs. his work in last year’s notes on a scandal was much better. i wonder how this one will stack up to repeated viewings.