In a nutshell: Silence really is golden
Popcorn rating: 4/5
If you ever need any proof about the magic of cinema, look no further than The Artist. Imagine someone telling you a year ago that a black and white silent movie would be a big hit in 2012, you would have probably laughed. And yet here we are in the wake of the film’s success at the Golden Globes scooping three accolades for best comedy, lead actor and score.
Remarkably, viewers have gone in their millions to watch a story unfold that uses filming techniques which are almost a century old. This was a whimsical time when the silver screen was accompanied by a full orchestra that would chronicle every moment with music.
Director Michel Hazanavicius’ first mainstream feature is a love letter to classic films in its purest form. As much a history lesson as it is a love story or comedy, The Artist tells the story of George Valentin (Jean Dujardin). He is a legend of the silent movie business and a polished professional who is able to work the crowd and the press into a frenzy with ease.
But then everything changes. The 1930s sees the decline of silent movies as ‘talkies’ begin to dominate. Proud George struggles to cope with the reality of his diminishing fame while Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), who starts as an extra in one of his films, shoots to success.
Except for a few clever flourishes, The Artist is lovingly recreated as a replica from the 1920s. You will rediscover how powerful something as simple as an expression can be. Mention also has to be made to George’s jack russell Uggie who almost steals the show infusing each of his scenes with charm and comedy.
To see something like go head-to-head with the likes of Mission Impossible in the nation’s multiplexes is a delight. Silence really is golden.
Reviewer: David Morgan