THE ARTIST (N/A)
Release Date: Not released
Running Time: 100 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, Uggie, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle
Plot: Hollywood 1927. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent movie superstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and see him fall into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), it seems the sky's the limit - major movie stardom awaits. The Artist tells the story of their interlinked destinies. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP
Review: Many I suspect will push that little ‘like’ button if there is motion on the floor saying that any silent movie is boring enough to be an entertainment option for the day. Dialogue-less scene with black-and-white Technicolor are not exactly the first thing you would have wanted for a movie to watch, what has more than possessing the real appeal. Whatever it is, many of these are touted as a classic by the previous generation which to some point I do agree. Set aside those sceptic opinions about it and welcome to the revitalization of such movies in this grandiose era. ‘The Artist’ revitalizes silent cinema to a new whole level. Read on to know why.
‘The Artist’ is set in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the Hollywood silent movie golden age is beginning to embrace sound movies (talkies) into their production. For silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), the arrival of talkies only means a resounding decline in his own popularity and career. His insisting of not doing any of the talkies only makes things even worst. Meanwhile, the Hollywood is celebrating the latest darling, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) who has part of her career guided by Valentin himself. While the two have an opposite path to endure in this new age of Hollywood, ‘The Artist’ tells the story of their interlinked destinies.
In 2011, they still make them as much genuinely mimicking as possible. I am talking about ‘The Artist’ – a silent film released late last year. Yes, ‘The Artist’ is an amazing piece of work. As a silent movie, it amuses its audiences with a handful gesture of respects and memories down the lane. Then, it allows the story to talk louder and points out more than the other talkies do. This beautiful film pays a hefty tribute to the silent films and as much as to serve as reminder of how the movies nowadays are very much influenced by them. A quick search revealed how much Dujardin’s character George Valentin is influenced by legendary silent film actors like John Gilbert or Rudolph Valentino. Then most of the movie is drawn from the inspirations like ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.
There are plenty of things that work out very well for ‘The Artist’ – the appeal, the story, the star and the feel. What initially thought to be a very limited appeal movie turns out to be a surprise and an ultimately satisfying joyride for the 100 minutes of the time. Appeal is a critical mass issue here that even other critics like Roger Ebert do point to that fact. Having to read stories of how people walkout during the movie or asking for refund are upsetting, simply because people are unable to broaden their expectation. Fortunate enough, despite the odds it is still a proven charmer because of its lovable story and great casting. It is that final nail been pulled out from that wooden coffin, signalling the revival of the oldies.
Encompassed with a light but easily commutable plot that centres on our hero and heroine (and also the dog), it is an unmistakable ironic story about the fall of the silent film. The story goes over a period of few years highlighting some of the usual problems an actor in Hollywood may encountered throughout his or her career – declining of popularity, creative indifference and that wrong decision making are parts of the story in ‘The Artist’. The plot is nothing new but it warms even the most standard story about famous people. It genuinely shows the case by putting in a lot of that extra effort to illustrate the man in his life crises with surrealism and more of the honest heart in it. Then and again, I almost forget to mention about Uggie and his adorable human-like acting!
Instead of going the norms, director Michael Hazanavicius allows the infusion of free will and flirtation into the story and at the lead’s performance. That adds in a lot of spices on the acting which is deemed more critical here because the film need visually astounding footage to work. ‘The Artist’ is not your ordinary movie that deals too heavy on the plot (thus been exquisitely light for digestion) but focus itself on its seriousness and comedies at the right time and pace. It is true that you do not need speech to convey the message, just a devoting performance that times well with the facial expression and workable comedic gestures are all that it need. Dujardin plays the lead role with exceptionality and reinforcing. You cannot help to not to fall in love with his smirk every time he wants to say something verbally.
‘The Artist’ does a great job in entertaining the audiences with its light and heart-warming story that is pretty much surprisingly lovable. Jean Dujardin portrays the most impossible – selling an emotional yet quirky expressive character to a movie that does not need the full dialog to tells what it all matters.
'THE ARTIST' is nominated for 10 categories - BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR (Micheal Hazanavicius), BEST ACTOR (Jean Dujardin), BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Berenice Bejo), BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (Michael Hazanavicius), BEST ART DIRECTION (Laurence Bennett & Robert Gould), BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (Ludovic Bource), BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (Guillaume Schiffman), BEST COSTUME DESIGN (Mark Bridges) and BEST FILM EDITING ( Anne-Sophie Bion & Michel Hazanavicius) for the 84th Academy Awards