Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Silent but Strong."The Artist" Film Review
Cast: Jean Dujardin, John Goodman
Writer and Director: Michel Hazanavicius
*** and a 1/2 *'s out of four.
To this day the only other silent movie I watched was the sci fi "Metropolis" when it got released in a special edition format in theatres a year ago. That was mainly due because I'm a film dork who loves watching these things, but I wouldnt dare bring any of my friends because I know they would be bored to tears. In this age of 3D, CGI, IMAX, and Digital THX sound systems. You would have to be out of your mind to release a silent film. But that is exactly what director Michel Hazanavicius does and it pays off very well. If you think this movies is only for film snobs or the art house crowd. You will be very surprised at how inventive and charming this flick is. It even uses sound in some scenes that made the audience gasp, and it was a simple ordinary sound too. Having an audience become enthralled at the sound of a pen dropping is pretty damn impressive.
George Valentina (Jean Dujardin) is one of the most popular silent film actors in Hollywoodland. At the eve of one of his premieres he runs into the beautiful newcomer Peppy Miller(Berenice Bejo) and the two begin a romance. The Studio boss Al Zimmer(John Goodman) finds out about the use of sound and believes that it will be the future of movies, but George just laughs it off. Saying that it will be a silly little fad that no one will be interested in. Meanwhile Peppy's embrace of the new format is causing her stature to rise with each role while George's stature is starting to dwindle.
"The Artist" is the perfect film to introduce someone to the genre of a silent film because it uses all the same techniques. It just adds in a few minor updates to make it more interesting for today's fast paced audience. The crowd I saw it with was a bit restless during the opening credits, but once the first scene came on. Everyone was fully immersed in the story. The whole cast was used very well and I expect some Oscars for it's star Jean Dujardin and it's original score by Ludovic Bource which is a character itself. The only flaw is that it becomes too melodramatic near the end to the point of becoming laughable than it's tragic intention. Luckily it's ending won back my heart in a very big way.
Some may watch this and only see the relationship between George and Peppy and wonder if they will reconcile their differences. I saw this as a story about being able to keep up with the times. Not just with movies and actors, but with everyone. A lot of what you love now will someday become old and outdated. It's important to keep current with new trends but to never really forget the past and to share that with friends and family. The music and movies you love now were inspired by someone or something from the past and that cycle continues on and on to this very day.