When word of the mysterious stage magician Eisenheim’s (Edward Norton
) astounding illusions reaches the powerful and pragmatic Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell
), the ruler attends one of the magician's shows in order to debunk Eisenheim during the performance. But when the Prince's intended, Sophie von Teschen (Jessica Biel
), assists the magician onstage, Eisenheim and Sophie recognize each other from their childhoods—and a dormant love affair is rekindled.
As the clandestine romance continues, shrewd Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) is charged by Leopold to intensify his efforts to expose Eisenheim, even while the magician gains a devoted and vocal public following. With Uhl doggedly searching for the reasons and the man behind the trickery, Eisenheim prepares to execute his greatest illusion yet.