movie film review | chris tookey

Illusionist/ L'Illusioniste

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  Illusionist/ L'Illusioniste Review
Tookey's Rating
3 /10
Average Rating
8.88 /10

Directed by: Sylvain Chomet
Written by: Sylvain Chomet , based on an original screenplay by Jacques Tati

Released: 2010
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: UK/ France
Colour: C
Length: 82

Visually beautiful but twee and depressing.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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The Illusionist is a downbeat, wistful cartoon by Sylvain Chomet, who was responsible for the much livelier and more entertaining Belleville Rendez-Vous.

The thin storyline, based on a disappointingly unfunny script by the late Jacques Tati, laments the death of music hall, here personified by an elderly French conjuror, deliberately made to look like Tati himself.

He goes on what may be his final tour to Scotland, where he befriends – or possibly romances - a very young chamber-maid and buys her expensive clothes, only for her to leave him for a more youthful and attractive man.

There’s something twee and distastefully Chaplinesque in the central relationship, and a nasty bitterness towards the pop groups that have supplanted the old man. The lovely Edinburgh backdrops, shot with marvellous attention to light and weather conditions, only partially compensate for a story that’s sluggish and uninvolving.

It’s different enough for critics to call it “interesting”, but I fear that moviegoers in search of what they would normally hope to find in a cartoon entertainment will find it a dreary downer.

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