Set in a fairy-tale Paris of the early 1920s, the film starts out as a fable for children and then turns into a vibrant homage to mute-film director George Méliès, played by eternally brilliant Ben Kingsley.
It is cinema mise en abyme; Scorsese is itching to convey his enchantment with film-making to the viewer and since he is so remarkably deft at it, he automatically (like clockwork..! or an automaton..! or fine machinery..!) hands his fascination on to the viewer.
In addition : Sacha Baron Cohen as a startlingly subdued policeman.