Film Review - The Artist

Film Review - The Artist

Can a silent movie about the end of silent movies be relevant to a modern audience? No surround sound, no technicolor, no widescreen...? The answer is a resounding yes.

Cinema at its best is about keeping your eyes glued to the screen- whether you're looking at something beautiful, exciting, impressive, amusing, involving, emotional... Well, looking away is not an option here, but fortunately it has all of the above anyway.

From the off, Jean Dujardin is an utterly compelling screen presence. He has the requisite old-school looks, charm and sheer physical presence; conveying drama, humour and some pretty nifty footwork in the process, without coming across overly hammy (unless required). Berenice Bejo is just as captivating as the usurping new star Peppy Miller, beaming from the screen with an irresistible radiance.

But their symbiotic relationship is greater even than the sum of its parts. Their chemistry is palpable, and as the same forces that bring them together tear them apart, it leads to some genuinely edge-of-the-seat (and surprisingly dark) moments.

If I had a criticism, it might be that I didn't quite feel as emotional a connection as I would have liked, but that's not to say I wasn't wholly invested throughout.

And yes, the dog absolutely steals the show.

Comments

Simon Williams's picture

On second viewing...

In honour of its Oscar wins (including Best Picture) I saw this again yesterday. I have to say, on second viewing, I felt totally invested emotionally. Congratulations to a worthy winner.

Gerard McGarry's picture

I have to be honest - I've

I have to be honest - I've had the opportunity to go see this a couple of times, but I've always got stuck on the fact that it's a silent movie. Clearly the sheer volume of awards and critical acclaim can't be argued with, but I just can't get past the fact that the silent movie feels like a bit of a gimmick in this day and age.

Simon Williams's picture

Yes it's a gimmick - is that bad?

Yes it's a gimmick - but is that a bad thing? At least we're not being charged extra for the "privilege", like 3D. Give me this over Hugo, any day.

For me it was just an ironically new way to tell a story. I'd say watch the trailer. I loved the moment when the female lead plays with the male lead's coat and thought, "there might be something in this for me". I can't see how it's possible to resist its charms, but I have two friends who loved it and two friends bored by it, so if nothing about it appeals to you, then it probably won't win you over.

Acclaim means nothing if something isn't to your taste, and I've hated quite a few well-reviewed films in the last year, some of which I thought I'd enjoy. But I always make the effort to see as many Oscar nominees as I can, because every year, without fail, I have discovered some gems I'd have otherwise avoided.