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The Illusionist

101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the director of The Triplets of Belleville brings you this 2010 Academy Award Nominee for best animated feature.


Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin
  • Directors: Sylvain Chomet
  • Format: NTSC, Dolby, Color, Subtitled
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0055TZ9PC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,884 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Miller VINE VOICE on February 11, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
The latest animated film by Sylvain Chomet is based on a script by the late Jacques Tati, who intended the film to be live-action but ended up never bringing the film to fruition. Tati died in 1982 and the script was passed to Chomet by Tati's daughter Sophie Tatischeff, who died before Chomet's debut feature-length, animated film The Triplets of Belleville was released. Since The Illusionist debuted it has been criticized by family members of Tati for straying from his original vision, as well as his original intention for writing the script in the first place. Since Tati is credited with writing the original script and Chomet is credited with adapting it, it is unknown how significantly Chomet altered the original script. Whether Chomet strayed from Tati's script or not becomes irrelevant as we can't judge a film based on what it could've been but for what it is. The fact is, the film exists in its current form and here it is:

The film begins in Paris, 1959 with Tatischeff, the illusionist of the title, performing his act for anyone who will watch on any stage he can find. While not very successful Tatischeff is an effective illusionist, whose only problem seems to be his unruly rabbit. Constantly searching for a stage to perform on, Tatischeff travels to Scotland and meets a young woman named Alice who believes that his illusions are really magic. Following Tatischeff to Edinburgh, Alice takes care of the house while he goes around performing his act. Alice's love for his tricks and his unwillingness to admit to Alice that what he does is all illusion causes Tatischeff to slowly become bankrupt in his attempts to always have gifts on hand to impress the girl with.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Whitt Patrick Pond TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 19, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
The Illusionist is a beautifully-rendered animated story about a French stage magician, Tatischeff, and his relationship with a young Scottish girl named Alice, at a time when his kind of entertainment is being displaced by the onset of television and rock-and-roll.

Stylistically, The Illusionist will be immediately familiar to fans of Chomet's best-known film, The Triplets of Belleville. The animation is gorgeously detailed, the characters unique, and the story presented with virtually no dialogue, relying on an occasional comprehensible word or two emerging from deliberately garbled bursts of psuedo-language, French or Scottish-English depending on the setting.

Storywise though, The Illusionist is distinctly different from Triplets. While Triplets was imbued with a manic glee, The Illusionist is instead tinged throughout with a mix of sweetness and sadness. The film begins with Tatischeff's stage magician having to deal with a changing world in which his style of entertainment is increasingly less in demand. This is brought painfully home early on when he ventures to the UK for a gig, only to find his act's slot on stage pushed back again and again by a rock-and-roll band's repeated encores for an audience of screaming teenage girls, forcing the magician to go through his pre-act preparations repeatedly. And when the band finally leaves the stage and Tatischeff gets his chance to go on, it is only to find that the bulk of the audience has already departed, leaving only a solitary grandmother and grandson for him to perform for. The scene is at once absurdly comic and yet achingly sad, and portrays in a nutshell what the magician's life has become.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Miles D. Moore on February 27, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Sylvain Chomet's "L'Illusioniste," based on an unproduced screenplay by Jacques Tati, is a worthy follow-up to his Oscar-winning "Triplets of Belleville," even if it is a gentler, less flamboyant work than its predecessor. "L'Illusioniste" is the story of Tatischeff (Tati's real name), a magician in 1959 Paris, who finds his old-fashioned hat-and-rabbit tricks in ever-diminishing demand. Forced to take a gig on a remote Scottish island, he entrances Alice, a young scullery maid who believes his tricks are real. When Tatischeff leaves to accept an engagement in Edinburgh, Alice stows away on the boat. The bulk of the movie is about the chaste, father-daughter relationship between Tatischeff and Alice, and their inevitable estrangement as Alice discovers the bigger world on her own.

Because "L'Illusioniste" is based on a screenplay that was meant to be a live-action film, Chomet's animation doesn't take Disneyesque liberties with the laws of gravity and physics. There are jokes and gags, but they are low-key and almost always included to make a serious, even melancholy point. (At one point Tatischeff stumbles into a movie theater showing "Mon Oncle," thus allowing him to come face-to-face with his doppelganger on the screen.) Tatischeff is one of the last survivors of a dying world, the world of the music hall, and we see his world constricting even as Alice's grows. Yet life and happiness go on, as symbolized by the drunken, kilted Scotsman who shows up in places both natural and unexpected. (Be sure to watch the credits to the very end; as in "The Triplets of Belleville," Chomet has a little surprise for us.
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