10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
a magical experience ....,
This review is from: The Illusionist [DVD]  (DVD)
I have to say this film came as something of a very pleasant surprise. I had seen The Triplets of Belleville and admired it more than necessarily loved it. But I found the illusionist to be genuinely touching as well as beautifully animated. You could tell too that Chomet and the team had done their research visually referencing everything from Tin Tin to Whisky Galore in order to get that period piece feel - as well as Tati obviously.
The story of a magician, practicing a dying art that forces him to travel Europe looking for work, is fascinating for the way it treats its subject matter. Normally in such animated films the person who goes with their dreams is rewarded. In the illusionist the dreamer is punished, being forced to live hand to mouth in bedsits while playing for dwindling and largely unappreciative audiences. In the end it is not his commitment to his craft that gives the lonely magician his reward .. but his commitment to another person, a poor servant girl he meets on a remote Scottish isle. He takes her under his wing, buying her clothes and transforming her in the process. All the while we are unsure of his true feelings for her. Romantic? Paternal? For most of the film it is left deliberately open....
The ending is a genuine surprise and is in keeping withe general tone of the film which is by turn comic, wistful, romantic,poignant and quirky. For me the illusionist isn't just the best animated film i saw last year but the best film period.