Monday, 13 February 2012

The Artist

Last night The Artist triumphed at the BAFTAS with seven awards including best film, director and leading actor. I saw this film a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to wrtite my review as since leaving the cinema screening, I have realised what a great film this is.

The Artist tells the story of silent movie star George Valentin and begins with his appearance
at a film premiere where he charms the crowd with his faithful canine co-star. Outside, a fan
drops her purse in his path and he uses her in a show to the waiting paparazzi and fans, much to his wife's disgust. The young fan - Peppy Millar - decides that she wants to be in the movies too and signs up to be an extra in George's new film. They become attracted to each other and George offers Peppy some career advice, which is soon to be part of his downfall. The studio make the decision to produce no more silent films with the introduction of 'talkies' and George's stubbornness means that he dropped by the company. He can only watch with distress as Peppy becomes the new big movie star while he loses his wife, house and possessions. But George and Peppy's destinys belong together and they soon meet again...

I was surprised how much this film kept my attention, probably even more so than modern day
films full of stereo sound and special effects. The Artist captures the style of the silent movies of the 1920's perfectly and the fashion and sets are beautiful to watch. The moment when George
and Peppy are communicating to each other through the medium of dance with a screen between their upper bodies is delightfully fun and in contrast, George's nightmare with a short introduction of sound is intelligent film-making, with simple sounds such as the contact of a glass to a table sounding deafening.
The lack of sound is more than made up with a fantastic sountrack, occassional screen titles, brilliant acting and the use of visual metaphors for example George filming a scene where he is drowning in quicksand, just as his career is failing. The success of the film depends entirely on the three stars, who you cannot take your eyes off
of - Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and of course Uggie the dog who has received worldwide adoration and critical acclaim. There have even been campaigns to get him nominated for an  Oscar and his red-carpet appearances have been the highlights of award season!

The Artist is a refreshing change to its contemporary counterparts and really is a love letter to
the movie industry and silver screen productions. Proof that all you need is a decent story
and cast to keep your audience's attention for a couple of hours. I can't wait to watch this
film again and urge everyone to see it for an uplifting and surprisingly emotional evening's
entertainment with a rousing finale that will see you leave the cinema with a huge smile on
your face!

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