Jacques Tati's Playtime, is a beautiful film; playful and peculiar; a film unlike any other. It sets itself apart from any other movie before or after it and was Tati's statement on his comic vision of the modern world. Playtime is a film where we as an audience are there to observe its colorful and mysterious characters and be engrossed by its wonderous and peculiar creation. Mr. Hulot who is a recurring character in most of Tati's films is in this film as well, and like us he seems to be wandering throughout the film lost and bewildered. Instead of a standard plot the film centers around several different incidents, and doesn't focus on a simple story. They're no central characters in the film but Playtime has a cast of hundreds, making it more a comedy of wondrous observation. It doesn't occupy any specific genre and is more a visual tour on Tati's mind on how he looks at the world around him.
During the production of the film, Playtime was the most expensive film in French history and Tati filmed it in 70mm and in 'Tativille' which was an enormous reproduced set of city streets, high-rise buildings, offices, an airline terminal and a traffic circle. And yet the film was a commercial failure which bankrupted Tati and costed him the ownership of his home, his business and all of his earlier films. While observing Playtime we as an audience witness humans wander in and out of cities and sterile architecture as they struggle to function through the rise of modernization and technology. Playtime is a comedy but it's not the usual comedy where it pulls cheap zingers and laugh out loud gags to get the audience to laugh. It's the subtle little moments that make Playtime so unique and funny; where at times you will see something that will make you smile; and others that will make you chuckle. As with most Tati films, sound effects were utilized to intensify comedic effect, as you enter a marvelous world of plate-glass and steel, endless corridors, escalators, work stations, elevators, and dead quite waiting rooms where all you hear is a persons cough, the sound of a zipper or the buzzing sound of the air conditioning motor.