- Director:Sylvain Chomet
- Cast:Eilidh Rankin , Jean-Claude Donda
- Release Date:March 07, 2012
- Running time:80 minutes
- The Film:4.0
- The Disc:2.0
“...a film that generally brings warm smiles rather than belly laughs...”
Following on from the incredibly well-received The Triplets Of Belleville, French animator Sylvain Chomet delves into the work of Jacques Tati, drawing on an unproduced screenplay by the famous comedian to produce this souffle-light delight. The film follows the exploits of the titular illusionist, Tatischeff (Jean-Claude Donda), a down at heels entertainer who trudges from venue to venue in a downcast, deftly-drawn Scotland, performing before uncaring crowds, before finding meaning in an avuncular relationship with Alice (Eilidh Rankin), a young woman who idolises him.
Like Chomet's Oscar-nominated previous work, this is a simply beautiful example of traditional hand-drawn animation, painterly and idiosyncratic. Those used to the smooth, glossy edges of the CGI age are in for a surprise, and hopefully a treat; eschewing broad slapstick and off-the-shelf cuteness, he draws on subtlety and nuance to communicate the emotions of his story, relying heavily on the poise and posture of his characters. The result is a film that generally brings warm smiles rather than belly laughs, and it's that more than anything else that perhaps puts the film slightly out of reach for younger children. Anyone old enough to grasp The Illusionist's message, and lucky enough to have retained a sense of whimsy, though, will be delighted.
Extra features include ‘Sylvain Chomet on Jacques Tati from documentary The Magnificent Tati' and behind the scenes.