Period drama about a mysterious magician in love with the wife of a fiery monarch. The young Eisenheim (Norton) is an Austrian boy of meagre means, son of a cabinetmaker but a lad with a keen mind. He's in love with Sophie Von Teschen (Jessica Biel) - the girl next door - who is of high breeding. Their plans to run away to China so Eisenheim can there learn the secrets of great magic are scuppered by Sophie's parents who'd as soon put a stop to the economic mis-match. In self-imposed exile, Eisenheim travels the world learning the finest, most mystical tricks, becoming a sorcerer of no little renown. Upon his return to Vienna, he finds Sophie unhappily engaged to the vile Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) who happens to be a great sceptic of the world of magic. He assigns his Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) to monitor Eisenheim and out him for a fake. The Count and Eisenheim are soon at odds and, when his dear Sophie is murdered, Eisenheim, apparently racked with grief, designs a new illusion in which she appears onstage bearing finger-pointing ill portent for the Count. Eisenheim is naturally shut down and driven out of Vienna immediately. Uhl begins to observe Eisenheim's movements more closely and to even have doubts about whether Sophie is actually dead.