Saturday, April 2, 2011

Movie Review: L'Illusioniste (Oscar Nominated)

**** (4 out of 5 Asterisks)
An imaginative, light and beautifully drawn treat of a film. 

Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature 2010, this movie is an unexpected treat for film enthusiasts. 

Though the plot is what one might consider slight, the overall effect is engaging and if not thought provoking.

Set in post war France, and the United Kingdom an aging Illusionist travels wherever his mediocre agent can find work for him.  Enter a young Irish girl who is mesmerized with his abilities and quickly adopts him as her Uncle.  The two travel to London as this slow, beautifully drawn film comes to its placid end.
Director Sylvain Chomet, who also directed the Triplets of Belleville, brings the viewer into a surprisingly realistic world where one can find beauty at nearly every turn. 
The art in the film stagers the imagination.  Its simplistic realism is truly stunning.  Several times while watching the film I found myself starring at the backgrounds rather than at the characters.  There is very little use of computer animation, and when it is used it is done sparingly and only to enhance the overall mood-such as smoke emanating from a train engine etc.
With a few decidedly adult themed events this is probably best left for adults and teenaged children. Beware: This is not a Disney film and thus there are not sugar coated rainbows at every turn.  To be certain the film is fraught with a few depressing story lines (a suicidal clown and an alcoholic ventriloquist).

A note: As with the Triplets of Belleville there is very little dialogue so most of the communication is non verbal.
Essentially this is a lovely bittersweet film reminding one of the feelings you get on lazy Sunday afternoons lounging around reading a good book and eating pretentiously delicious cookies.

You ought to like this film because:
  1. It is difficult to find a remarkable animated film
  2. It is difficult to find a remarkable film at the theatre nowadays
  3. Aesthetically stunning

You should like this film if:
  1. You enjoyed Triplets of Belleville
  2. You like slow moving foreign films
  3. You appreciate great animation
Do not see if you:
  1. Want an action packed extravaganza

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