OK - don't read further if you want to see the film without my thoughts about it.
It is a very beautiful, quite slow, and intimate film. It is much smaller than "Triplettes", and with less action. The designs are, as usual, beautiful, great colours too.
As someone who seriously thought about applying to job offers from Chomet's studio some years ago but didn't because of the very high expectations ("excellent in human anatomy", "at least 5 yrs as a Senior Animator on feature films" - I was wondering how many artists who meet his specs he would be able to find in Europe?) I especially kept an eye on the quality of the animation. It was ... mixed. Some scenes were just great, these were all those in which Tatischeff, the main character, played out a longer scene. All the schticks and mannerisms of Tati were present, it was a delight to watch. In most of the other scenes I wasn't impressed that much. Characters often lacked weight, and I was especially distracted by poor inbetweening. If a director chooses a style depending on very exact drawing, this is a real turn-off. Also there was a difference between the very realistic human movements of the two main and the caricatured movements of the supporting characters.
I like Chomet's style, but I was irritated about the design of the female character. It got better over time (I wonder if they used different models because the story covers several months?), but the first minutes with Alice were hard to swallow. Her face looked like a failed effort from Deviantart, I'm afraid.
I have seen 3 films by Chomet now, and there's a clear pattern, or a list of props he doesn't seem able to do without. Steep streets, preference for 1915 buildings, midgets, circus crew, obese Americans, ... The story seemed to be a bit thin. (Same problem with Bill Plympton's "Idiots and Angels".) As much as the old artist Tatischeff was a real person, as much the girl wasn't more than some girl wanting nice clothes. In this respect the whole storyline was very one-dimensional. I also disliked the portrayal of the beat band as poncy effeminated clowns - that was an unnecessary kick in the groins.
In the interview Chomet explained his use of camera, and his no-close-up policy. That may be fine as an hommage to Tati who in most films kept an observer's perspective, but it again kept me from really connect to the characters. The only emotion present is the disillusion of Tatischeff at the end, when he lost nearly everything (nicely done by reducing his baggage piece by piece).
Why he included just one, very time consuming, but essentially wasted and unnecessary 3D shot of Edinborough I don't know. It doesn't fit in, it doesn't do anything that a sequence of simple stills wouldn't have done the same or better. There are some multiplane shots of the city, those are very nice.
However, there's still a lot to like in the film. The rabbit! Just everything with the rabbit is right. The magic tricks! This is just great, as it is very hard to convincingly show stage magic in film, let alone animation.
The film had a budget of 22 Mio €, more than Belleville's 8 Mio $.
At the premiere the credits were missing, I assume they had to do the print in a rush. Instead Chomet asked his crew onto stage, 24 of them were attending. It was a very young and very international crew, few seemed to be older than 30, and two wore a kilt. He tried to introduce some of them, remembering which scene they had done, but in the end they all called out their names themselves. (The Sikh came from New York.) Still a nice move I'd like to see more often.
TVP 10.0.18, Mac Pro Quadcore 3 GHz, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.6.8, QT 7.6.6