Film Review: The Artist

January 27, 2012 § 8 Comments

In a cinematic age of superheroes, sequels and 3-D, ‘The Artist’ refreshingly harks back to the days of the silent movie.

French director, Michel Hazanavicius’s, Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe winning film, is a wonderful black and white, silent masterpiece.

Set in the late 1920’s and early 30’s, the film tells the story of silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), who fears for his career as the ‘talkies’ take Hollywood, and the world, by storm.

As George wonders about his career, he meets up and coming dancer, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), who is determined to make it in the world of movies. The spark between the two is instant

Music takes centre stage

In the absence of vocal dialogue, the score of the film is left to be the voice of the movie. And it does so superbly.

Throughout the film the music takes the audience through a range of emotions from humour to despair, drama, sadness and desperation.

So powerful is the score that it feels as if you are listening to an opera.

One particularly powerful piece of music occurs in the scene, where, in a fit of rage and self-pity, George sets about destroying all the reels of his movies.

As George’s rage increases the music builds to an intense crescendo, pulling the audience along with it.

When you say nothing at all

However, the music is not the only way in which emotion is conveyed.

As with all silent films, the actors use the power of facial expression and body language to demonstrate how they are feeling. The results are over-the-top, but wonderfully so.

One of the most moving scenes in the film, for me, is when George and Peppy have a confrontation.

Without dialogue or even a score, in complete silence the two use their faces to emote what they are feeling.

The intensity is only broken by the comedic antics of George’s dog who has won audiences over with his role in the film.

A hit with industry and audiences alike

With ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, it would seem that the film industry is enamoured with The Artist.

But it’s not just the industry who is conducting a love affair with the film. Audiences worldwide are lapping up the story, costumes and acting.

“Big hearted and full of warmth, I would defy anyone not to be completely charmed by it.”

“It’s a beautiful charmer, I had a smile on my face the whole way through it.”

These are just two of the comments left on the Guardian’s online review of the film.

Full of glamour and romance, tap-dancing,  comedy and drama The Artist is definitely a movie not to be missed. If you haven’t seen it already, do. Now.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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