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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Artist

“We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!” –Norma Desmond, Sunset Blvd.
In a year that Hugo and My Week with Marilyn already explored film's love of film, we get one more story about Hollywood. But The Artist is a magnificent throwback, a black-and-white silent movie made with loving detail to the technical style of 1920’s films.  While this is a delightfully old fashioned homage to Hollywoodland, it’s also a timeless romance with a wink of modern self-awareness.
The end of silent film and the dawn of the talkies has been told onscreen before with “Singing in the Rain”, but there is an ironic freshness that comes from giving this story the silent-film treatment.
George Valentin (Jean Dujardin channeling Gene Kelly no less), is a silent film superstar who’s at the top of his game as times are changing. Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), is the new star that is born. Their onscreen courtship is pure movie magic.
By skipping dialog to reveal the story in other ways, the film stirs our senses. For me, this resulted in a unique enchantment that you don’t often get from modern film. I expect that even the most cautious ticket-buyer will agree.

Simply put:  Believe the hype. This picture is worth a thousand words:  dazzling, charming, gorgeous, funny, romatic, clever, best picture…
Award potential: Best Picture nomination and a likely win. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo dazzle; and both will be rewarded with nominations (actor, supporting actress).  Cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman will be remembered and likely rewarded.  As will the score by Ludovic Bource.

The ten buck review:  Worth ten bucks.

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