UK Release date: 16th June 2010 (Edinburgh Film Festival)
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 16th October 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I had heard quite a lot of praise for this one when it came out and so it found its way onto ‘The List’. When it aired on TV this week it was time to cross it off and enjoy this engaging and quite charming animation. There is a lot to admire about this film, but I will fill you in on that after this very brief summary.
In the late 1950’s many old music hall acts found it much harder to find work; with the arrival of TV and rock and roll, the world was changing. One of the victims of these changes is the main character of this film, The Illusionist. Finding it hard to find work in his native Paris he crosses the English Channel and looks for employment in London. There he meets a wealthy Scottish man who books him to entertain at a small pub in the Western Isles of Scotland. He goes down well and whilst there he befriends a girl, Alice. She is so taken with him that when time came for him to leave; she stowed away and went with him. Making their way to Edinburgh, this unlikely pair begins a series of adventures that will change the world for both of them. I won’t say any more or the Spoiler Police will be confiscating that rabbit I keep in my hat.
Made in a silent movie style, there is very much reliance on the visuals to convey the story. It didn’t always quite come off (for me), but it was beautiful to look at and quite an engaging and gentle, if slightly bittersweet, story. As there was no dialogue, as such, I won’t do my usual round up of the acting talent this time. Instead I’ll hand out praise to the animators, sadly too numerous to mention here, who did a really great job (IMO), so hats off to those guys.
If you’re in the mood for a gentle Comedy/Drama that won’t stretch your grey cells too much then I can highly recommend this one. Adding to the enjoyment is a lovely musical score by Sylvain Chomet which really sets the tone and suits the visuals really well. The only thing, I found, that let it down was the fact that the plot did get a little confused in the middle, but it does sort itself out again by the end. I loved the rather aggressive rabbit, a great piece of observational comedy. Over all, if you’re in the mood… Recommended.
My Score: 7.7/10.
IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 9,728 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90/100 (based on 116 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Official Site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/theillusionist/