The Illusionist (UK-France, 2010)

When everything's behind you

Sylvain Chomet’s beautifully animated Jacques Tati tale has ‘retro’ impregnated as firmly as the word ‘Blackpool’ in its eponymous rock. It’s beguiling, elegaic and deeply conservative so my guess is its appeal, which is almost universal amongst UK critics, will be limited to the middle aged. Like Tati’s films, Chomet’s adapted an unfilmed Tati script, there’s barely any dialogue, non verbal communication tells us all we need to know and the comedy is mild; very gentle slapstick.

I don’t mean to sound negative, if that’s how you’ve read the above, as I urge you to bathe in the film’s nostalgia; though you may be too young for that. Set in Edinburgh, mostly, in 1959, a city that seems to be populated by French-looking people (!), the story recounts the end of the music hall era as the ‘illusionist’ comes to understand ‘disillusion’.

Bechdel test: Fail (6/3)
Protagonist: Male (1/5)

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2 Responses

  1. Me and Joe saw the film on Friday and both thought it was an interesting film. So much of the film was portrayed through the visuals, the story itself is different to that of typical animated fare and left us thinking for sometime afterwards. i could go on about it but instead ill just say its defiantly a film i would recommend, although your criticism its appeal will only be limited to middle aged people is a little wrong. Then again we ‘re not the typical pair of teenagers are we…

  2. I think the film is beautiful to look at but for me there isn’t much more than that. And it commits the most unforgivable of cinematic crimes: it’s a tad dull.

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