Film #159: THE ILLUSIONIST
5 out of 5 stars
Director Sylvain Chomet (TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE) creates a beautiful and multi-layered tale of an aging magician who discovers times have changed and his special brand of entertainment is slowly falling out of fashion. He then meets a young girl who truly believes he is able to do magic and the poignant - and sometimes bittersweet - tale takes off from there. Based on a script by the great Jacques Tati (the superb PLAYTIME, MON ONCLE, and MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY), the tale is a heart-warming and subtle story (much like most of Tati’s filmography) presented in a sumptuous and ravishing animation. Like many Tati films, the main protagonist is virtually silent and his tale is told not by his words, but by his actions and the actions of those around him. It is a subtle, endearing, and misleading (in a VERY good way) manner of storytelling. Chomet is in his wheelhouse here (much like he was with BELLEVILLE), but this film shows a certain progression and growing comfortableness with his art form. But in the end, this is Tati’s tale and I’ll admit to being a sucker for his particular style of writing. PLAYTIME is one of my favorite films of all time and now THE ILLUSIONIST ranks up there as well. Highly recommended!!