Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tony Curtis

The passage of time and all of its sickening crimes.

Tony Curtis has now left the building.

A man who, in his youth, was possessed of a beauty that eludes most of us no matter how hard we primp and preen and who starred in more fabulous, bona fide, classics than many others; "Sweet Smell of Success", "The Vikings", "The Defiant Ones", "Some Like it Hot", "Spartacus", "The Boston Strangler" and an Oscar nominated performance in "The Defiant Ones".

A brilliant raconteur and a star.

He was due to make an appearance here, in Edinburgh, a few months ago...I had tickets and was giddy with excitement about the prospect of being in the company of a living legend. Sadly that will never happen but a cosy Sunday afternoon with "Some Like it Hot" beckons and I can't think of a better tribute.

My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Alamar - Filmhouse - 23/9/10

The picture above is of me and my dad.

I can't be much more than four or five years old.

Can you see how happy I look?

Look at my dad.

He is super fit.

At that time he was fighting at international standard in karate. He was a second dan which at that point was not easy and even now is worthy of respect.

You can see how much he loves me too.

We're in a boat on a lake somewhere in West Lothian.

It's the 1970's and the sun is shining.

I don't remember the day or the photograph being taken...that doesn't stop it being my happiest memory!

"Alamar" is that photography brought to life.

A story of a father and his son...the bond between them, the love they share for one another and the joy they bring into each others lives.

It doesn't matter that the film is Mexican, it doesn't matter that it offers a glimpse of Mayan culture and not the culture of exiled Edinburgers living in West Lothian.

I saw this with my dad and throughout I kept seeing the photograph of the two of us on that little row boat.

"Alamar" is fragile, delicate, beautiful, tender and joyous.

I'm glad I saw it and I'm glad I saw it with my dad.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Winters Bone - Cineworld - 22/9/10

A serious film.

No attempt to please studios or even audience.

Instead a film made for the sole purpose of telling a story.

This is a story that was worth telling.

The novel by Daniel Woodrell was a critical hit and there may well be an argument for leaving well alone.

Thankfully that argument didn't deter director Debra Granik from embarking on the journey from page to screen.

Set in the Ozarks, an area that cuts through much of southern Missouri and north central Arkansas, a bleak, desolate and yet beautiful area where the original German, Irish, Scots and English settlers relied on hunting and trapping to survive and where, in modern times, methamphetamine is a common part of life "Winters Bone" tells the tale of Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) and her struggle to protect her family.

Ree is forced to confront the elders of her community when her father jumps bail leaving the family home at the mercy of a bail bondsman. The father is never seen and with her mother nearly catatonic unable to carry out the most basic of tasks at home it is up to Ree to raise her younger brother and sister. Ree is strong, vulnerable, brave and afraid...she is let down, threatened, beaten and cast out from her community as she tries to find her father and save her home.

This was a wonderful film.

Now, that is the sort of trite anti-crit that "real" reviewers are trained to avoid but I'm not a film critic or a journalist so I can take risks and simply tell it like it is every now and then.

Cyrus - Cineworld - 11/9/10

Secretary: Mr Williams I have a Jay and Mark Duplass in reception for you.

Williams: Oh right, the Duplass, what's the pitch here Olivia? I haven't read it.

Sec: Ah, lemme check for you Mr Williams...its'...oh, yes, here we go, fat, loser, divorcee finds love but the woman has a fat, loser man-child at home who doesn't want the divorcee to screw his mom...and...

Williams: That's good Olivia, I got it. It's a Farrelly Brothers thing right? Two fat guys fighting for the love of a way foxy mom, cue lots of laughs blah, blah, blah. Good. Send 'em in.

Sec: Right away Mr Williams. Gentlemen, you can go through now.

Williams: Jay! Mark! Mark! Jay! I can never remember which is which! HA HA HA. How the hell are ya? Never mind how you are it's how you're gonna be that matters right? Right? Of course I'm right. So "Cyrus"...I LOVED THIS SCRIPT! I was laughing my ASS off!

Mark: Really?

Jay: Cool. We were worried that it might not be what you were looking for.

Mark: Or that you would want to make some changes.

Williams: Changes? Are you guys crazy!? Why would I change this! Two fat guys, a hot momma...lotta laughs. Who doesn't enjoy laughing at fat guys? Right? RIGHT. Mix it up by throwing in a bit of hope that a hot momma may ever be interested in this sort of a loser to keep the fat losers from the real world happy and BINGO! Gross out comedy HIT! I said HIT! HA HA HA HA.

Mark: ?

Jay: Did you read the script Mr Williams?

Williams: I least I read what I could see through the tears of laughter that were blurring my vision! I will be honest with you here, at first I saw the title and read that you wanted John C Reilly and Cath Keener and I thought...YUK! I mean who wants some dark, indier than thou, mumblecore, "comedy" like "Greenberg", right? Did you see that! What was Benny thinking about! Anyway I guys have given me exactly what I need...what the world needs! The fat guy from "Superbad" in a movie where he has a crush on his mom! You are two sick puppies! GROSS OUT! HA HA HA HA HA!

Mark/Jay: Are you sure you...

Williams: Look, you two kids go out there and make me the funniest damn movie you can and in a year we can meet back here to share out the cash! Getouttahere!


Sec: Mr Williams, the final cut of "Cyrus" is ready for you.

Williams: What?

Sec: The Duplass brothers movie.

Williams: Gimme more.

Sec: John C Reilly?

Williams: More.

Sec: Cath Keener?

Williams: Ugh! Is this "Greenberg 2"?

Sec: Jonah Hill?

Williams: Ah, right! The fat guys and the hot momma! I cannot wait for this.


Williams: Olivia, get onto the trailer guys...tell them to cut out ANY and ALL references to "Cyrus" being "black", "dark", "intelligent" or "indie". I want lots of shots of fat guys doing stupid things. I want this to look like some sort of "American Pie" meets "Porkies" supermashupmixtape of a movie! Tell marketing to do a "Slumdog" on know, "Feel good hit..." blah, blah, blah. And make sure that anything the Duplass brothers submit is shredded. Assholes.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Kid

This is a review that I published for "The Kid" during the EIFF.

It is now on general release.

Many will already know the story of Kevin Lewis and his remarkable, traumatic childhood. It was a best selling memoir and one which propelled Lewis into the mainstream world and heralded the start of a new life as one of the foremost crime writers in the country. Here Nick Moran takes the story and brings it to the big screen.

It would have been easy for this to have been a disaster. In the wrong hands the terrible abuses suffered by Kevin at the hands of his “Frankenstein in drag” mother could have been played for easy tears or cheap sentimentality. Under the direction of Moran however we are given the truth of the situation; brutal, awful, shocking bursts of violence that render us speechless and feeling more than a little ashamed of the knowledge that these things are happening in our streets.

When Lewis is eventually taken out of the family home by social services and placed in a care home he is given the safety and love that all children require. That is short lived however as social services remove him and return him to his mother where the abuse begins again almost immediately. This time a teacher senses that something is wrong and offers Kevin support, kindness and, most importantly, believes him when he eventually reveals what is happening at home. Soon Kevin is leaving home for the last time for life with a wealthy entrepreneur and his wife in the leafy suburbs.

After a brief period of normality Kevin is plunged into the criminal underworld of London and finds himself earning money in illegal bare knuckle boxing matches and being the “front” for a bar that is simply operating as a long firm. At this point Kevin meets a girl, falls in love and, almost inevitably, has the rug pulled from underneath his feet yet again.

The way in which Kevin takes retribution and finds hope is almost unbelievable but it is true and it is an ending that brings a tear to the driest eye and a warm feeling to the coldest heart. The story of Kevin Lewis is remarkable...what starts as a dark tale becomes a story of hope, inspiration and triumph.

Nick Moran is a well known face thanks, in chief, to his great performance as “Eddy” in “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”. As a producer and director he is also a well respected talent (his biopic of Joe Meek “Telstar” is a lost classic) and in “The Kid” he has shown that he has the ability to produce a mainstream film that will also please the cinephiles. He has drawn a fabulous performance from Rupert Friend as Kevin and managed to create one of the great screen villains in Gloria (played with a sense of true evil by Natashca McElhone).

A wonderful story.

A wonderful film.

A remarkable man.

We should be thankful for many reasons to Kevin Lewis.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


I caught "SoulBoy" during the EIFF in July.

It's now out on general release so I thought another look at my thoughts might do no harm!

SoulBoy tells the story of the Northern Soul phenomenom that gripped thousands of teenagers in the UK in the nineteen seventies. With an obsessive devotion to rare soul records, dancing and clothes it was the bastard child of the Mod movement of the sixties.

Here Joe (Martin Comptson) falls for Northern Soul girl Jane (Nichola Burley) and in order to impress her makes his way to the Mecca of the scene...the Wigan Casino where the infamous all nighters are held from 2am until 8am. Along the way he discovers a real love for the music and the dancing as well as who it is that he really loves...oh, I can hear you all already giving it big licks about lacking originality and being formulaic. You might have a point but I'm a sucker for British subcultures and the Northern Soul scene is one of the great lost youth movements, it's good to see it getting a run out on the big screen.

Like "Quadrophenia" being spliced with "Billy Elliot" this is a movie with some laughs, some good performances (keep an eye out for Jo Hartley who was last seen playing Shauns mum in "This Is England") and some hand clappin', foot stompin', funky butt shakin' music in the soundtrack.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

An Interview with Jo Hartley

The first time I speak with Jo Hartley is to confirm the time of our interview...the conversation lasts little more than three minutes but in that time I found out everything I needed to know about her as she managed to squeeze in mentions of sit-ups, deep fried Mars Bars, her work schedule and then tell me that she would be happy to come in and visit my local high schools media studies class the next time she was in Edinburgh.

For an actress who is starring in the first wave of post-Big Brother Channel Four drama she is remarkably humble, warm and generous as well as being genuinely funny, interesting and thoughtful. She is the opposite of many people in her line of work and it is no surprise that the equally unaffected Shane Meadows holds her in such high esteem.

Because I am not a “real” journalist (truth be told I’m not sure I’m even a real person) I had to try and speak with Jo through the hands free kit in my car while holding a dictaphone up to the’s a far cry from James Lipton and the actors studio but what she had to say means that the recording of that conversation is something I will hold onto forever.

Over the top?



I don’t think so, I think I’m just a sucker for people who do remarkable things and who don’t really see how remarkable that makes them...but if it’s easier for you to see me as Kiss Ass then fine!

Jo has appeared in “Dead Mans Shoes”, “This is England”, “This is England ’86”, the soon to be released “Soul Boy” and an appearance in “Casualty 1909” as well as several other films, which all sounds very glamorous but when one considers what being in the public eye entails; the carping, the bitching, the focus on how you look, the sniping, the hard work, the insecurity the obvious question has to be...why would anyone choose this as a career, why not just a nice office job?

“Yeah, why not! I think it’s as simple as the fact that I’ve always been someone who has followed their instincts. From a really early age I felt like I had a connection with acting through film. Even as a kid I was aware that film could take you away from the reality of life but that it could also put you in the middle of it and that through film you could identify with characters and lose yourself from reality. I’ve always wanted to act but I did try the office job, I left acting when I was seventeen after my dad passed away and I thought, at that time, “This is a dream” it wasn’t for someone like me, it was for people who had the money to go to RADA and not for a working class girl from Oldham”

This is said without any hint of “poor me”, Hartley isn’t the sort of person to use her class or her own personal struggles for anything other than her art. What it does reveal is the fact that she, like so many of us, is “normal” (whatever that might mean) and that what sets her aside, if not apart, from us is her desire and her passion to do something creative and that she loves.

“I don’t see being an actress as something glamorous, it’s definitely not, for me it’s a bit of an illness really. It’s in your blood or in your bones...maybe I like the struggle and the challenge, I don’t know but I just love it. I haven’t ever wanted to act for fame or any of that nonsense, I only wanted to act because I couldn’t get rid of that desire. I worked for British Aerospace for four years, I had the office job and I loved it, it was a great experience but all through that I was aware of wanting to act. I had ten years away from it...maybe it’s like true love, you try to forget it but you can’t, it’s always there, gnawing away at you”

Some people see acting as simply entertainment and nothing more, there is no difference between an actor and a “turn” on the Royal Variety Show but Jo sees things very differently; “I was watching Sean Penn on the actors studio and he said that entertainment is two prostitutes and an eightball but acting is about something more than that...there’s a real craft there. During my time away from acting I was an air hostess for Japan Airlines, I learnt Japanese, I lived in Japan and went travelling. When I finished with that, at the age of twenty seven, I went to London to study at “Questors” in Ealing, not RADA but a well known and respected school, and I was studying method and Stanislavski and I could see then that acting was something that you had to commit to and that you had to work at. I was there for six months before leaving with everything I owned in a van to come back North to act in a guerilla film That said it is a stupid job! Well, it’s not “stupid” it can be hard and difficult but you have to accept it for what it is. It’s just not like a “real” job...I’m a character actress and I get paid to do something I love. For all that it can be difficult I love it and feel really glad to be doing what I’m doing”

When I was a kid I did the amateur dramatic thing, the school shows, some musical theatre and even now friends and family will say “You should be on the stage” when I’m behaving like a loon at a party. The difference between someone like me who enjoys “entertaining” people and someone like Jo Hartley is that there isn’t anything inside of me driving me to turn my back on the security of my job, my mortgage, my home and, bleurgh, my career.

One of the things that has always intrigued me about actors is the choices they make. You can see an actor appear in something wonderful, something powerful and moving and then appear in something absolutely hideous...for evidence of what I’m talking about please rent “The Pianist” and marvel at Adrian Brody and then watch him in the, frankly, vulgar “HIGH School”. When you look at the character that Jo plays in “This is England”, Cynthia, you are struck by the poverty of her life; her husband is dead, she has no money, she has a teenage son to raise and she lives in a bleak house in an even bleaker part of town. How does someone choose that role and prepare for it?

“When I worked with Shane (Meadows) on “Dead Mans Shoes” he was really nice and said that he thought I had talent and that I would get better as I got older. He also said that he would like to work with me again. When I was working on that we explored a character called Mary who was a heroin addict and a prostitute but that idea never came to anything because “Dead Mans Shoes” didn’t do very well at the cinema and the idea of doing an even darker set of characters just didn’t work. Cynthia came from some workshops that Shane carried out with some of the people who would later form the cast of “This is England”. Basically Cynthia was the result of a series of improvisations I did with some of the other actors and at the end of that Shane said; “I’m doing a film called “This is England” and you’re going to play the mum” and he cast me on the spot”

One of the key relationships in “This is England” is the one between Cynthia and Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) and the chemistry between Jo and Tomo (as everyone associated with the film calls him) was so convincing that it is difficult to imagine how that evolved artificially.

“We found Tomo just before the filming began and initially Cynthia was going to be a much more prominent character, there was going to be a rape scene between her and Combo, there wasn’t any of the stuff involving Milky but slowly that began to make more sense. When I met Tomo I had a connection with him that so was powerful that it changed the character that I had created, she was an alcoholic, a waste of space but because of that relationship between Tomo and I then the relationship between Cynthia and Shaun also changed. Cynthia became a different person, she is a good person but she does struggle with her role as a mother and that’s part of the reason for Shaun reaching out to Woody and the gang”

“As far as building the character I did all of the things that Cynthia would have done; I didn’t mix with the kids in the film, I sat alone in a flat in Nottingham for four weeks, smoking, drinking and watching really depressing films just to influence my mood and to make that life real for me so that Cynthia became real.”

It’s clear to see that Jo is drawn to the type of realism and darkness that is the hallmark of so much great British cinema from Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to Meadows himself. As an actress its obvious what the rewards are for being involved in films like those and there must be a great sense of achievement in creating a character like Cynthia but Jo will next be seen on the big screen in the British comedy “Soul Boy which tries to tell the story of the Northern Soul scene. It’s a flawed film and one that, despite great subject matter and references to working class culture, never really convinces as anything other than romcom with dance moves. How do you move from one to the other?

“I read that script and expected it to be a very different film and I don’t think I was alone in feeling that way. I saw it as being close in spirit to “This is England” and the script was very dark and gritty. I also thought that it was a time and era the Northern Soul era was so iconic that I couldn’t not do it. As with a lot of films though a lot of stuff ends up on the cutting room floor and I think that there were stories in the original script that could have been told and that would have made a very different film. It could have been...well, a different film. But I wanted to work with the director and I loved the story. I went in and did my best, gave my all and then I had to let it go...all the other stuff after that; the edit, the music, you have to let go of.”

We’ve covered a lot of quite heavy stuff here Jo so I want to ask you something a bit “Inferno” Dante describes the layers of Hell and leaves us with the image of Judas trapped, for all eternity, in ice...awake and aware of the magnitude of his sin. If you were in charge of Hell what film would you force Judas and his fellow sinners to watch in order to punish them? Without missing a beat Jo gives the best answer to this question I have ever received, because she doesn’t choose a “bad” film but rather she chooses a film that would be painful for them; “Jacobs Ladder”

On the other side of the coin what film would you choose to give to the residents of Heaven as a reward for their good deeds what would it be? This isn’t your “favourite” film but the film that you love and that you would see as being a reward for good deeds. “I haven’t seen it for a long time but I suppose it would “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “The Wizard of Oz” which is my favourite ever film...along with “Once Upon a Time in America. Oh, and “Arthur”. There aren’t many people you can travel that distance with...from “Jacobs Ladder” to “Arthur” without pausing for breath!

With that my time with Jo Hartley comes to an end and I’m left feeling slightly breathless. It’s rare to talk with someone in showbiz who isn’t slightly affected but Hartley is honest, forthright, sweet and passionate. Truth be told I think I’ve fallen in love with a woman who I last saw looking like a faded Princess Diana. I’m pleased too that other people feel the same way as she has a diary that is full...with “Crying with Laughter” (another dark piece) already in the can, Pat Holden (director of “Awaydays”) new project “Speak No Evil”, a horror, currently being filmed, a British horror-comedy called “INBRED” (which is her first lead in a horror) and work on Ben Drews (of Plan B fame) feature called “Ill Manors” to come. The only downside is that all of this means that many others will soon see past the stone washed denim and big glasses of “Cynthia” and my chances of eloping to Gretna Green to make Jo Mrs J. Hartley Laird will become slimmer than they are at present.

Damn it.

Jo Hartley can currently be seen in “This is England ’86” which airs on Channel 4 on Tuesday evenings at 10pm. “Soul Boy” can be seen in Edinburgh at the Cameo Cinema from the 17th to the 23rd of September

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Last Exorcism - Cineworld - 3/9/10

I have had a crisis of faith in my life in the past few years.

At one point I was a devout theist and now, it would be safe to say, I have serious doubts.

From a theist to atheist?

Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) is an evangelical pastor who has made a similar journey. At the films start he has invited a documentary film crew to follow him as he performs an exorcism on a young woman in the heart of exorcism of a demon that he doesn't believe exists using faith that he doesn't have.

Using the mockumentary style of "Blair With Project" and "Paranormal Activity" we are dropped into a world where we are never quite sure (until the films disappointingly silly/hysterical final scene) what is "true"...the realms of faith and doubt, science and reason sitting together at every turn. "The Last Exorcism" is a fine addition to the possession genre that, at its best, includes "The Exorcist" and "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" (with which it has much in common). It also nods to the likes of "Rosemarys Baby" (especially in that hysterical final scene I previously mentioned) and to other horror classics.

Strong performances from everyone, especially Fabian and the excellent Ashley Bell as the possessed "Nell Sweetzer", elevate "The Last Exorcism" from standard horror fare to the sort of smart, sharp and sassy horror flick you will want to see more than once. The best horror film of the year? I think so.

Dinner For Schmucks - Cineworld - 3/9/10


Steve Carell is good in "The Office: An American Workplace".

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Salt - Cineworld - 30/8/10

I have been left speechless on only a handful of occasions in my life.

If you think about it carefully then I'm sure you would be able to say the same.

Under normal circumstances we find things to say to express how we are feeling about the thing we are experiencing.

Even if it is simply a dumbstruck "wow".

Sometimes we are left without words because of the emotional punch of an event; the death of a loved one, a natural disaster maybe. At other times it is the awesome beauty or spectacle of a thing that leaves us gasping for air let alone words.

"Salt" also left me speechless at times.

Not because of its emotional punch.

Not because of its raw, naked, beauty.

Not because of its awesome spectacle.

No, "Salt" left me speechless because for a very long time I have yearned to do something more creative with my life, to create, to provoke, to inspire, to be the one responsible for speechlessness in be, however pretentious this may sound, an Artist.

I'm not an artist though. I'm a man sat hunched over a laptop writing about films.

On a daily basis though I have a creative idea for a short story, a poem, a song, a film, a joke. They never get any further than my mind though. I don't have the faith in my ability, truth be told I am crippled by a very low opinion of myself and of whatever "talent" I might have and so I just sit and torture myself with thoughts of what might have been and what could be but never will.

Writer Kurt Wimmer has no such lack of belief.

He, clearly, thinks he is the proverbial dogs bollocks.

He has seen his screenplays turned into multi-million pound blockbusters by major studios time after time; "Equilibrium", "Law Abiding Citizen", "Ultraviolet" and "Street Kings" are just some of the things he has been responsible for.

Director Phillip Noyce is equally convinced of his value...although his track record has a few more spikes than Wimmers.

Together the two of them managed to persuade a major film studio to bankroll "Salt"

Here we get to the real reason why I was left speechless by this film...this is a film that is so awful, so monumentally hideous, so vile, so dreadful and so utterly, utterly artless that it, literally, rendered me speechless. I'm not exaggerating. This was the worst film I have seen since...well, I don't know when.

Now, I know it's easy for someone like me who has already confessed to not having the balls of Wimmer to sit and snipe at the work of someone who is, at least, doing the very thing I crave; creating, but when someone like Wimmer uses the opportunity he has been given to create and wastes it by manufacturing this sort of beastliness then I feel utterly vindicated in attacking.

This is a film that includes a "plot" to start a third world war by, and I quote, "...enraging a billion Muslims".


I'm not making that up.

That's a direct quote from "Salt"...a line written by Wimmer.


Kurt Wimmer is the sort of man who on being presented with the opportunity to write films sits in his office and writes lines like...

"I'm not a goddam Russian spy"

Kurt Wimmer is the movie worlds answer to Dan Brown.


Although, clearly, not any more.

Swimming With Sharks - 29/8/10

Have you seen this?

Have you heard of this?

"Swimming With Sharks" it's called.

It's about a young Hollywood studio executive who works for a more important Hollywood executive who is a bastard.


It doesn't sound like much?

Well, that's where you would be wrong.

It's good.

It's got Kevin Spacey in.

You like Kevin Spacey.

Of course you do.

Everyone likes Kevin Spacey.



I know, that was rubbish but this is good.

It's a drama, with a bit of "dark" humour thrown in.

It's got a twist and everything.

Honestly, it's good.

I liked it.

I'm sure you would too.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Illusionist - Cineworld - 20/8/09

Would you like to hear a secret?

You would?


Come here...

A bit closer...

Right, now that it's just me and you...I've never seen "Belleville Rendez-Vous"

Keep it under your hat though eh?

So, if you are expecting some sort of detailed analysis of that and how it compares to "The Illusionist" then you will be sorely disappointed. Not that I think, for even a moment, that anyone reads this for detailed analysis...or even that anyone reads this at all.

"The Illusionist" (as you will already be aware) is the work of Sylvain Chomet and is built around a Jacques Tati script. Taking that source material and then setting it in 1950's Edinburgh, Chomet recreates perfectly the Athens of the North and manages to capture the feel of the city too.

As the eponymous illusionist leaves France in search of work he arrives, first, in London only to find himself playing second fiddle to Billy and the Britoons (a Beatlesesque pop group) and is soon flung off the bill and has to turn to doing tricks at weddings in order to make ends meet. At one such event he meets a drunk Scotsman who invites him North to perform in his small village and where he meets "the girl"...a young girl who soon follows the illusionist to Edinburgh and sets up home with him in a hotel room.

While the illusionist struggles to make ends meet by undertaking a variety of dead end jobs the girl makes ever increasing demands for clothes and make-up, all of which he affords her without complaint. As her selfishness increases so his selflessness increases to accommodate her. Ultimately though he has to leave in order for her to find true love and, we hope, a bit more meaning in her life.

With barely a word spoken the power of "The Illusionist" lies in Chomets ability to take a script from a, largely, forgotten performer and to use it to create a lost world both physically and emotionally. People in the Edinburgh of "The Illusionist" are polite, well dressed and hard working...a far cry from the truth of modern day Auld Reekie. This is a delicate and tender film that won't be to everyones taste but that will reward others.