Review of 'The Illusionist (L'illusionniste)'

the_illusionist.jpg An ageing magician whose stage act is quickly losing it's appeal to a fickle audience in the 1950s with the coming of television and film leaves his home in France to perform in northern Scotland. Working in a small pub he befriends a poor young girl who he bestows gifts on such as a pretty pair of shoes. When he leaves for Edinburgh she follows with their living in a small apartment in the city. In his affection for the girl he continues to purchase items that she sees being worn in the streets or in the shop windows despite the fact he does not have the money.

This light yet very moving film really touches with very little dialogue (though the version we saw was dubbed into English there were still a few words in French). It looks beautiful with every scene another vivid water colour piece of art. The portions in Edinburgh are particularly striking and obviously the work of someone who loves the city (as Chomet lived there for quite some time). The Illusionist is absolutely amazing looking and very much a worthy successor to Chomet's original 2003 “Belleville Rendez-Vous” which, in many ways, exceeds this film with it's thoughtful and well-composed pacing. Certainly there is none of Belleville's exuberance here and the film ends on quite a melancholy note. Do not get me wrong, there are quite a number of amusing bits though no really “laugh out loud” moments. This is something that may amuse the younger in the audience who should be able to last the 80 minutes but they would need to pay attention…

I greatly look forward to anything that Chomet comes up with next!

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2010-08-29

Directed by: Sylvain Chomet

Studio: Django Films Illusionist

Year: 2010

Length: 80 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Sylvain Chomet: