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The Artist (DVD)

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Genre: Drama / To Be Announced / Director: Michel Hazanavicius / Actors: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller ... / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    7 Reviews
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      05.03.2014 17:14
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      Oscar Worthy

      Nominated for ten Oscars and winning 5 including 'Best Picture', 'The Artist' was a delightful, entertaining and thoughtful watch.

      George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a famed silent movie star, meets aspiring actress/dancer Peppy (Berenice Bejo) and helps her on her career. But with the dawn of talking movies, George's silent world spirals out of control.

      The style of the movie is perhaps its most impressive factor- filmed in black and white, it is like you're watching a silent movie. Captions every now and again allow you to understand what they're saying but this is hardly necessary as you are engaged and you understand by their expressive body language.

      Plot wise, it was fun and cheerful to begin with but slowly turned quite dark. The character of George was so strong and the performance so polarised, it was really wonderfully acted. The propulsion to the climax was tense, heightened by the sound track. It was a fantastically dramatic finish, but ended on a high note and with hope.

      In an age of visual domination, where movies strive to be the most glitzy, has the best effects and the bombardment of 3D and IMAX, it was captivating to see a movie filmed in such a style to capture audiences worldwide and goes to show that a good story and good performances is the essence for a good movie!

      ~~~CAST~~~
      Jean Dujardin- George Valentin
      Berenice Bejo- Peppy Miller

      Also stars James Cromwell, John Goodman and Penelope Ann Miller.

      Oscar Winner George Valentin was stunning in this role- animated, emotional and genuine. His chemistry with Berenice Bejo was also lighthearted, sweet and believable. A special mention has to go to Uggie the dog was such a stellar performance- so real and disciplined that my sister asked if it was real! If they also give Oscars to animals, Uggie would surely win one :)

      ~~~OVERALL~~~
      'The Artist' is a beautifully captivating movie that oozes style and flair as it documents the rise and fall of actors in the 20s. Led by Jean Dujardin with a wonderful support cast, the performances were delightful and powerful. This movie deserved all the Oscars it got and is definitely a must watch if you haven't seen it already!

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        30.12.2012 14:26
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        Falling actor falls in love with rising star

        The Artist has made it onto my list of favourite films of all time. This may puzzle a few of you since my other favourite films include the Lord of the Rings and the Dark Knight trilogies. I must admit that despite the brilliant reviews, I wasn't all that keen to watch The Artist. I'm not particularly fond of either black and white or silent films but The Artist completely blew me away. This film has everything. Moments of happiness, moments of comedy, moments of heartbreak, you name it. I was smiling widely from the very beginning of this movie and the first half of this film should win some sort of award for being the feel-good film of the year. In contrast, I spent most of the second part of this film clutching my pillow and either covering my mouth in shock bawling my eyes out. Before I started watching the film I'd told myself that I'd just watch half of it and then go to sleep, but once the movie got going there was no way I was going to bed without finishing it.


        The story is set in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932 and follows the lives of George Valentin, a falling silent film star struggling to find his place in the rise of the 'talkies' and Peppy Miller, a young actress whose fame is rapidly increasing.

        As this is a silent film, the good acting and miming were essential to making this film a success. The actor Jean Dujardin is my new favourite French actor because he is simply hilarious. He is an excellent actor who really brings this film alive and his story brings with it the comedy and heartbreak. Not only is he good at acting, but he is also an excellent dancer and he does some pretty nifty tricks with his dog. Parfait! Oh, and don't forget that brilliantly French moustache that he pulls off so well. Berenice Bejo was also a great actress but I think she was outshone by Dujardin which is a shame. Curiously, there are also a few Hollywood actors in this film including John Goodman and Missy Pyle. (If you don't recognise their names you'll almost certainly recognise their faces)



        The soundtrack for this film is delightful. It is so brilliantly French and romantic and fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the film. The music is one of the utmost importance given that it's a silent film and in this case I think music speaks louder than words. I have already downloaded the entire score and I have repeatedly danced around my room to it imagining myself to be in the 1920s. The music and the costumes are enough to make you wish that you had been born 100 years earlier.

        This production of this film confuses me greatly, because it is deemed to be a 'French Film' and yet there are a great deal of Hollywood actors in it, the film is set in Hollywood, the subtitles are in English and it's distributed by Warner Bros. Very perplexing. The general style of the film makes it easy to identify as a French film though because Hollywood could never come up with anything this ... happy, heartbreaking, funny, the list goes on.



        If I haven't already convinced you to go and watch this incredible film then perhaps this little fact will. The Artist has an entire wikipedia page dedicated to all the awards that this film has won (check it out here: List of accolades received by The Artist (film)). Just to name a few: the film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, at the British Academy Film Awards, it won seven BAFTAs out of twelve nominations, at the Golden Globe Awards the film was nominated in six categories, more than any other film nominated, The Artist is the first French film to win a Best Film Golden Globe and Dujardin is the first French actor to win the Best Actor Golden Globe since Gérard Depardieu, who won it in 1991, receiving ten César Awards nominations, the film managed to win six of them. The Artist is the most awarded French film in history.

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        02.06.2012 14:19
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        It's that most rare of cinematic gifts, a film that encompasses everything we love about cinema.

        Films that are, in and of themselves, a celebration of cinema or filmmaking are a tricky thing to pull off and have rarely been done brilliantly, in my opinion. The most outstanding example of one that works for me would be Singin' in the Rain, and that was made in 1952. The thing is, when you make a film designed to speak lovingly or, in some cases, not so lovingly about a certain era in film, or a certain movement, or even a certain star, you need to choose carefully the style in which the film itself is made. You certainly need to make as accomplished a film as possible, surely? You wouldn't be doing the art-form any justice otherwise. Well, there's a new great love-letter to cinema for us all to enjoy. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, completely worthy of all the plaudits being bestowed upon it (most recently at the BAFTAs). It is powerful, funny, uplifting, inventive, exciting, tense, joyful... the list goes on. It is everything cinema should be. It is The Artist.

        George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, is the poster boy of the silent era. The most famous man on the planet, he is adored by everyone and his films are anticipated with riotous enthusiasm by the masses. One day, on the red carpet, a member of the public stumbles out of the crowd and literally bumps into him - a moment which captures the imagination of the press, and will lead them both down a path they couldn't have imagined. That member of the public turns out to be Peppy Miller, Bérénice Bejo, an up-and-coming actress. When the film world starts moving away from silent movies toward 'talkies', this spells the end of Valentin's career, but merely the start for Peppy Miller. As one spirals downward, while the other rockets toward international stardom, the pair grow quickly apart. Alone, miserable and desperate, George hits bottom and it's not long before he is contemplating suicide. There is only one person that can make him realise that life is worth living... but can she get through to him in time?

        This is a truly wonderful, wondrous film. Its majesty lies in the fact that not only is it in itself a silent film, but it recognises that it is an ode to the era and dares to reference that directly on a couple of occasions. Michel Hazanavicius, who writes and directs, has such a clear understanding of the silent era, but also of cinema itself and all of the powers which it holds. This, while being shown in every scene of The Artist, is no more evident than during a dream sequence which occurs almost halfway through. So brilliantly constructed, and so clever it is, that the effect is completely jolting, pulling the audience out of the story for a while and making them question the very fabric of the world which these characters occupy. So magnificent, in fact, is the effect that I was almost drawn to tears. Not because of anything that was happening to the characters (although, it has to be said, it is a perfectly emotional scene) but just because it was so brilliant, I found myself having an emotional response to the actual filmmaking prowess.

        The only flaw I, personally, can find with this film is that some people won't like that it is silent, and that's a shame. I don't know about the rest of the world, but certainly in the UK there have been several instances where people have gone to see this film and ended up asking for their money back... because there's no dialogue. There's so much to be loved about this movie, the lack of dialogue actually being one of those things, that I find it difficult to understand how someone could let that spoil their enjoyment. It is such a refreshing film, the kind which comes along maybe once in a generation, that dares to explore a way of communicating with an audience that wouldn't usually be considered. It's fast-paced, upbeat, hilarious... and there's Uggie, the dog. This is no ordinary animal role. This is a dog seemingly possessed in the best possible way. He exudes personality in a manner that I have never witnessed in a film before, and it is nothing short of exhilarating at times. So watchable is this animal, he even get scenes where he is the centre of attention, his performance holding the film together and keeping the audience on the edges of their seats. He also contributes to the comedy in a big way, managing to fool you into believing he possesses a sense of humour.

        Everything that has gone toward the making of this film is, while perhaps not all perfect, at the very least, brilliant. The cinematography, the music, the art direction. All of the performances are wonderful, not only from the three main stars, but also from the supporting cast in John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, the list could go on... There really is so much to be taken away from the film. It's pure entertainment while also being a history lesson. It's a history lesson while also being a celebration of the cinematic art-form. It's a celebration while also being dramatic, engaging and at times incredibly thrilling. My review may not seem particularly balanced, but believe me, I have tried to think of some flaws to put forward to you - anything that I could reasonably assume would be worth relaying as a fair criticism of the The Artist, but I can't. It's cinematic gold, the kind that we don't even dare wish for these days. In an age dominated by films into which very little thought seems to go, how delightful to have something different to experience. It's something to cherish.

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          28.05.2012 18:15
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          This film manages to capture the feeling of an entire era without saying a word

          **FILM ONLY REVIEW**

          The Artist's biggest selling point (and its biggest criticism in some circles) is the fact it is a silent movie. There were questions whether or not such a film could interest audiences in this current generation, which is ironic since the film's plot concerns that very question when popular silent-movie actor, George Valentin (played expertly by Jean Dujardin), finds his success threatened by the advent of 'talkie' films. Determined to stick to the voiceless medium which made his name, Valentin, funds his own silent feature which opens on the same day as the latest talkie, starring an extra on one of his earlier movies, whom he'd helped reach stardom.

          The film chronicles the decline in silent movies with a sweet romantic sub-plot. So, as the audience watches a silent movie, they are reminded of the events that led to their demise. It's a very bittersweet concept. With hindsight, we can see the worth and great films that 'talkies' provided, but we grow attached to the cheerful and exuberant George, so knowing the inevitable failure of his attempts to keep silent movies going is even more heartbreaking.

          Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) is a brilliantly matched female lead against Valentin and the two seem so perfect for each other that you find yourself shouting at the screen at the various near-misses and problems which keep them apart. It's this love story at the heart of the film that propels it and keeps it watchable without spoken words. The facial expressions between the two are slightly exaggerated, as it would need to be in order to communicate clearly on the screen, but the poignant moments between the two were still more effective than most rom-com pairings in recent years.

          The other notable leading role belongs to an unusual actor - unusual in the sense that he has four legs and a tail. George's pet dog manages to get his own moment in the spotlight alongside his two human co-stars, with a rather well performed solo scene mid-way through the film. The dog-trainers managed to do well to get the dog to behave so obediently. The relationship between George and his dog is also very affecting, in that we immediately bond with these two friends and feel sad when they go through rough times.

          One of the strengths of this film is its universal appeal, due to the lack of speech. People of any language can enjoy this film without losing anything in translation. The actors all manage to convey their emotions and motivations without having the speech cards come up (which only occasionally appear) and the story is delightfully simple and evocative, without confusing narrative clouding the way. However, the film does feel slightly padded-out in places, due to the simplistic nature of the tale and I did find myself thinking whether or not it could have been shortened by 10 mins or so.

          Despite the lack of voices, there is not a lack of sound, and the ambient music is very evocative of classic black & white cinema of the time. Without words to draw emotion from the audience, the director must rely on his soundtrack and it pays off well, with the right sounds at the right moments, making the audience connect with the emotions that our lead characters feel without ever having to explain it through obstructive text on the screen.

          This is a great film, which makes you nostalgic for that golden age of Hollywood, even though in my case, I wasn't even alive then! Things seem so much simpler and brighter and this film manages to capture that feeling perfectly. Don't be put off by the silent treatment to the story, as it really is as good as everyone says!

          [This Review may also appear on Amazon & Ciao]

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            04.03.2012 14:07
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            Brilliantly made piece.

            *Film only review*

            Plot:

            Set in the late 1920's, The Artist follows silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) through the highs of his Hollywood career and the challenges presented by the introduction of talkies.

            Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius (OSS 117). The film is winner of 5 Oscars (out of 10 nominations) including best picture, director and actor (Dujardin). Also winner of 7 BAFTAs (12 noms) and 3 Golden Globes (6 noms).

            Review:

            There was so much hype surrounding The Artist in the run up to its release that I had to see what all the fuss was about. I had to know whether the film was actually a good film or whether it was just being talked about because it's unusual. You don't get any almost silent, black and white movies nowadays. A throwback to a bygone era, it is obvious why The Artist has done so well in awards season.

            The film begins with Valentin at the top of his game with his loveable dog (Uggie) by his side and wannabe actress Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) trying to get noticed in Hollywood. I found The Artist a little hard to get into at first, which was more to do with me than the movie itself. Having had never seen a silent movie before, I wasn't sure what to expect or how interested I would be in a full length silent feature. After 15 minutes or so I settled into it and it seemed totally normal not to be able to hear the actors talk.

            The Artist has a relatively long run time for a silent movie of 100 minutes; most silent movies are essentially shorts. I was surprised that I didn't find it to drag at all, although the plot is fairly predictable, the performances are compelling which kept me hooked. The production is excellent, it may not be filled with CGI and shot in 3D but the quality of the filmmaking is top notch. Simple yet very effective. Director Hazanavicius, his wife Bejo and Dujardin have worked together before and it shows, there's an ease and confidence to the performances which is a pleasure to watch.

            Jean Dujardin (OSS 117) puts in an Oscar winning turn as leading man George Valentin, the film relies on his performance and it is every bit as good as the critics say. The character goes through a whole range of emotions throughout the film and Dujardin makes you feel them all. With no script to deliver, there's intensity to the acting at times which you don't always get when words get in the way. Some may see it as over acting but expressions are everything and so it is necessary to overdo it a little. The Artist starts out fairly light hearted but builds the drama as the story progresses. Dujardin moves his performance nicely and you really do root for him to succeed. It will be interesting to see if Dujardin moves away from French cinema, and if so how successful he will be. I think most actors are best when acting in their native language, for obvious reasons, but maybe he will surprise me. It's certainly exciting times for him.

            Bérénice Bejo (A Knight's Tale) was Oscar nominated for her role as the up and coming Peppy Miller. As with Dujardin, Bejo handles the material excellently. She makes Miller likeable throughout when the audience could turn against her at numerous points in the film. Bejo kind of disappears at certain points in the movie when it becomes all about Valentin which I thought was a shame. Bejo and Dujardin have great chemistry; the most enjoyable scenes were when they were together on screen. I would have liked to see her given a little more material particularly halfway through; the film is about a rise and fall, not just the fall.

            Support comes from some familiar faces in John Goodman (Roseanne) and James Cromwell (The Queen). Two very different performances, Goodman's over the top studio head Al Zimmer and Cromwell's quiet, loyal driver Clifton, both very good in their own way. Uggie the dog has gained the affections of most cinemagoers and critics alike, it's hard to resist a cute little dog that can do tricks.

            The success of The Artist also rests a lot on the music of the film. Ludovic Bource's score is excellent; however the quality of the music has been overshadowed somewhat by the controversy surrounding the inclusion of a piece from Vertigo. I love Vertigo and personally I don't see it as being a crime like many others do, music gets reused many times over.

            The fact that The Artist is somewhat of a passion project for director Hazanavicius makes it a nice break from the many vacant blockbusters churned out by film studios that have no heart or feeling. There are seemingly endless sequels and films adapted from bestselling books now that it is a surprise to be faced with a film such as this. I wouldn't be shocked if someone was coming up with The Artist 2 now to be honest. Hopefully not though, hopefully it can stay as a one off, an ode to the cinema of old.

            The Artist is excellent, the most enjoyable film I have seen in a long time. Brilliant performances make the film a must see, highly recommended.

            Cast:

            Jean Dujardin - George Valentin
            Bérénice Bejo - Peppy Miller
            John Goodman - Al Zimmer
            James Cromwell - Clifton
            Penelope Ann Miller - Doris
            Missi Pyle - Constance

            Runtime: 100 mins

            Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating.

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              02.03.2012 18:33
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              I absolutely loved it!

              Film Only Review:

              When my friend suggested going to the cinema to see 'The Artist' I was not very enthusiastic about it. I'd heard a lot about the film which is branded as a 'silent movie' and had just seen it win the Acadamy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original Score at 2012's Oscars. This is infact one of the biggest reasons I was dubious about going to see it. Out of the last ten Best Picture winners at the Oscars I've enjoyed only two and the rest I thought were a pretentious yawn fest. A black and white silent movie starring French actors who were unkown to me sounded like it would probably go on my list of arty-farty films that I will hate and never want to watch again. However, I'm so pleased that I went to see this film anyway because it is the best thing I have seen in years and years.

              Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist stars French actor Jean Dujardin as a silent movie actor named George Valentin who finds himself struggling to keep working once the invention of talking movies becomes popular with audiences. Berenice Bejo stars as the upbeat Peppy Miller, a pretty young starlet who is talking the new movie scene by storm and leaving older actors like Valentin in her shadow. Other actors involved in the project include Roseanne star John Goodman who plays a bigshot studio boss and James Cromwell who plays a devoted valet to Valentin. I also absolutely must mention the dog Uggie who plays Valentin's dog in the piece as he is a shameless scene stealer during the whole movie.

              Dujardin is thoroughly deserving of his clutch of film awards including Oscar, Golden Globe and Bafta. He is a very physical actor - which is essential when there is no audible dialogue - and he manages to capture both comedy and tragedy perfectly in his body language and expressions. Valentin seems to be inspired by some classic old actors and is particularly reminiscent of legends like Gene Kelly and Rudolph Valentino. Handsome and talented but a little too proud, the character is likeable, funny and endearing.

              Berenice Bejo is also fantastic in her role as the larger than life Peppy who will do anything it takes to succeed in a cut throat business. Bejo's physical beauty is incredible, especially considering we see her in black and white throughout, and the character she embodies brilliantly radiates with warmth and joy. It is impossible to dislike Peppy and she is a perect love interest for the protagonist of the piece.

              When I heard this was a silent movie I really was imagining it would be that kind of honky tonk piano music intercut with black dialogue cards and show actors aping and miming like over-dramatic fools. In fact to call The Artist a silent movie isn't really fair. It's more like a movie that uses the silent movie as it's subject. I would call it a 21st century silent movie, not a direct copy of an old 1920's silent movie. I think it lends of the genre rather than recreates it. The use of the dialogue cards after an actor speaks is used infrequently. Much of the time you can either lip read or you know what's happening because the music or physical positioning of the actor guides you. There are some surprises in store too and I was particularly impressed by a dream scene of Valentin's in which the movie is suddenly propelled into modernity in terms of audio. I've heard people say that the movie plays on the gimmick of being a silent movie but there is so much more to the story and the performances that, gimmick or not, makes this an excellent film.

              The soundtrack is very fitting and includes a mix of classical and jazz style pieces composed by Ludovic Bource. Valentin's theme is especially memorable as is the jitterbug/tap-dancing style dance number which features in the final triumphant scene. The music is excellent at expressing the tone of the scene and is often like the 'voice' of the actor. I also approve of the the use of the 'Vertigo' theme, a seemingly controversial choice, which fits the film very well.

              I have to say that I'm a huge fan of old 1930-1950's movies (although I've never seen any old silent movies) and I'm very familiar with stars like Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra who were all round performers. I even go back further with stars like Al Jolson featuring on my radar. In relation to this I'm not entirely certain how a younger audience might interpret The Artist if they have no cultural references to go on. Whilst the story of the Artist itself is totally heartwarming and magical I can imagine some younger viewers being bemused by the silence, thinking it silly and simply asking "What the heck?!". However I personally really loved Dujardin's interpretation of an actor of the silent movie period and would not argue with the director's comment that this movie was a "love letter to cinema".

              Ultimately I thought The Artist was utterly spellbinding and there was nothing at all I could fault about it. The actor's performances were perfect, the music was intelligent, the story was inspirational and uplifting, the artistic vision of the piece was genius. When I had finished watching the film I simply wanted to sit and watch it through again.

              I really think this movie is best seen in a cinema and hope to be seeing it again soon but I am anticipating the DVD release (May 2012) with eagerness. I would absolutely recommend seeing this to everyone.

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                07.02.2012 21:57
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                An excellent and enjoyable homage to the silent movie era

                Let's be honest: The Artist is a film that relies on a gimmick, a clever, well-used gimmick certainly; but a gimmick nonetheless. The gimmick in question? The Artist is a loving tribute to the era of silent films and silent film stars... filmed as a silent film. That's right: the whole film is made entirely in black and white and, apart from approximately 2 minutes, the whole thing is without any dialogue or any sound beyond the tinkling piano soundtrack.

                Filming a tribute to the silent movies of the 20s as an actual silent movie might sound a bit poncy and pretentious, but the simple fact is that it works. Not only does it work, it actually improves the film. As a standard full-colour, dialogue packed film, The Artist simply would not have been as effective; in fact it possibly would have sunk without trace, unnoticed by all but the most hardcore of international film fans. Unlike 3D, the gimmick adds depth and interest to an otherwise pretty much simple and straightforward plot.

                That simple plot follows George Valentin, a major star of the silent movie era. When offered an early chance to make the transition into new fangled "talkies", George rejects it, believing them to be a short-lived fad. Instead, he self-finances his own epic new silent movie. When that flops, George is left bankrupt and ignored by the studios. Meanwhile the career of Peppy Miller, a young actress George discovered and mentored, is going into the stratosphere.

                The artist is probably best described as a sort of romantic comedy-drama. Not normally my sort of thing at all. However, it's so well scripted, shot and acted that it overcomes its rather predictable plotting. A lot of credit for this should go to Michel Hazanavicius, not just because he wrote the script, but because his directing is spot on. This feels like a real, proper silent movie, not something at playing at being a silent movie. The camera angles, the close-up shots, the fake studio scenery all perfectly capture that era when film was still a new and exciting medium and not an endless parade of sequels and unimaginative action films.

                It would have been easy to make The Artist into a seriously cheesy film. Whilst there are moments of cheesiness, this happens within the context of the "silent film" conceit. Look back at a lot of silent films now and they do look rather corny. So, whilst The Artist has its share of dairy-related moments, these add to the film, rather than detracting from it.

                Huge credit must also go to the lead actors Jean Dujardin (Valentin) and Bérénice Bejo (Miller) who both inhabit their roles perfectly. Dujardin is the perfect mixture of charm, suave and sophistication; the man the ladies love to love and the men want to be. The cheesy grin on his face, the mischievous twinkle in his eye and his self-assured and confident attitude make George a natural performer. This is all mixed with this is a large dash of arrogance, vanity and insecurity that threaten to bring George down.

                Bejo, meanwhile, is charmingly sweet as Peppy Miller, the girl-next-door who catches a big break. Slightly shy and insecure she appears to be the exact opposite of Valentin. Yet behind the sweet exterior also lies an ambitious and determined attitude.

                Both roles are played with such charm and self-assurance that it is impossible not to like the two charismatic leads. They could both have come across as insufferably smug and unlikeable. Yet, their respective human flaws make them accessible and it's easy to identify with their highs and lows and feel their contrasting emotions of elation and despair.

                There was always a danger that it could have suffered from hammy acting and more mugging than a crime hotspot, but this doesn't happen. On the rare occasions when it does, it is entirely appropriate within the context of the film. Some of the movements and facial expressions are exaggerated, for example, but this was a trick silent movie stars used to convey ideas and emotions without dialogue. Similarly, there are lots of knowing looks to camera and cheesy grins... but again, just watch any Errol Flynn film and you'll see that the acting is well-observed, not over-the-top.

                Before we get too carried away, let's get a couple of things straight. First up, The Artist is a good film. Heck I'd even go as far as to say that it's a great film. Just don't believe the hype that it's an all time classic that deserves as many stars and superlatives as you can think of. In an age of endless sequels, The Artist should be widely applauded for trying something different and (mostly) succeeding. However, it's a sad sign of the times and Hollywood's lack of imagination that a solid, 4 star film is instantly acclaimed as "all-time classic".

                Secondly: the dog. Yes, he's clever; yes, he's cute. But deserving of a specially created "Animal Performance Oscar"? Oh, please (and this comes from a dog lover). It's just a very well trained dog that is behaving the ways he is either because there are tasty morsels hidden at strategic points on the set (to make sure he sniffs in the right places) or because someone is standing off-camera holding a treat to make sure he looks appealingly (and appealing) in the right direction.

                Most seriously, the film is also a little too long. The plot is a very slight and predictable and it's not sufficient to sustain the 100 minute running time. This is most obvious in a flabby middle section which rather hammers home the point that Valentin has fallen on hard times because of his own stubbornness and pride, whilst Miller has become a massive star because she is so down-to-earth and "normal. The constant repetition of this point (albeit in a slightly different way each time) becomes rather tiresome.

                This over-extended run-time causes problems with the central gimmick of the "silent film". By the end you are desperate for some dialogue (which, in fairness, you do eventually get). Bear in mind that most silent movies were only 20-30 minutes long, so sustaining a film using no dialogue for almost three times that is a big ask.

                The Artist is a breath of fresh air in a release schedule dominated by unimaginative sequels, prequels and re-makes. It will no doubt do very well come the Oscars and I'm certainly not going to begrudge it any success. It's both an excellent homage to silent movies and an enjoyable silent movie in its own right. There's a large question mark over whether it will still be remembered as anything other than a curio in 10 years in time, but let's live in the moment and enjoy it.

                Basic Information
                ------------------------
                The Artist
                2011
                Director: Michel Hazanavicius
                Running time: approx. 100 minutes
                Certificate: PG

                (c) Copyright SWSt 2012

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