The Illusionist

Rated 3.0

In the late 1950s, an aging vaudeville magician tours in ever-smaller circles. In a one-horse Scottish village, his act fascinates a teenage girl who follows him on the road, and the two form a father-daughter family unit that shifts and changes as he grows old and she grows up. Adapting an unproduced script by the great Jacques Tati, French animator Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville) dresses the story in his distinctive visual style. Close-ups are rare, the faces sketchy and expressionless, so what Tati must have intended as a quietly intimate story of two characters becomes a movie about cityscapes, automobiles, trains, rolling clouds and all the other visual filigree that Chomet does so well. The story is rather cold and uninvolving, but the very look of the movie is striking and never dull.