Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Artist

UK Release: 30th December 2011
Watched in Cinema: Friday 17th February 2012
Rating: PG
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 1hr 40mins
IMDb Plot Synopsis: Hollywood, 1927: Outside a movie premiere, enthusiastic fan Peppy Miller literally bumps into the swashbuckling hero of the silent film, George Valentin. The star reacts graciously and Peppy plants a kiss on his cheek as they are surrounded by photographers. The headlines demand: "Who's That Girl?" and Peppy is inspired to audition for a dancing bit-part at the studio. However as Peppy slowly rises through the industry, the introduction of talking-pictures turns Valentin's world upside-down.

My Review: It was hard not to go into this film without some expectations what with it winning 7 Baftas last sunday and the ridiculous amount of Oscar nominations its had. So I went in wanting to like it. And to begin with I found it difficult - I really missed hearing the actors voices and found it hard to follow the plot for the first 5 minutes or so. But... I soon settled into it and what can I say? I loved it! It has a fantastic calming effect on you and it seemed to go by very quickly which I believe is due to the fact that every single scene helped to propel the story on and so there we no lulls or dull moments at all. Bérénice Bejo was the star for me and I didn’t quite understand how Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor Bafta over Gary Oldman. I’m not saying he wasn’t any good he just was nowhere near as worthy as Oldman; that’s all I’m saying. And that’s my biggest issue with the film in that it is centred around this novelty factor of being a silent film in the 21st century. It uses this concept very cleverly playing on the conventions and truly making it a film for film lovers, but is it going to stand the test of time? Part of me says yes as it is so excellently and creatively directed - the dream sequence where we hear sound for the first time particuarly stood out as after all that silence the sounds (especially the laughter) had a huge impact. 
The plot was very simple, yet effective and it really makes you think about how much we interpret people’s feelings and behaviour through body language far more than the words that are actually coming out of their mouths. Another nitty point is that I found the music soundtrack to be essential in my enjoyment of the film and the many times when it was just plain silence were hard to watch as it felt... wrong somehow. I loved that the makers were bold enough to do that and it was refreshing to see but I found I need sound just as much as picture to enjoy films! 
But this film is far more than the silent factor it is also sweet, tender, funny (the dog makes this film!) and had me welling up at the end. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that it is a modern masterpiece!
Score: 9/10

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