Film Review: The Artist
By Martha Lane on January 9, 2012 in Film
Last year had a dearth of properly good films. There were some gems, but they were a shimmering few in a deep quagmire. Well, we are one week into the New Year and I have already seen my film of 2012, or at least one that is going to take an absolute corker to beat.
The Artist is beautiful, funny, poignant; oh and silent. Set in the golden age of Hollywood it is heavily stylised but obviously European. It is self aware and self-mocking with moments of sheer brilliance.
The story is simple, a silent movie star on top of his game falls from grace as he refuses to make the move into the ‘talkies’. His obsession with his career and a stunning new starlet means his marriage, and life falls apart, all the while Peppy Miller (afore mentioned starlet) breezes into the movie bizz and the movie-goers hearts with grace and ease.
The only two scenes that use sound are cinematic genius. A dance sequence to rival Gene Kelly – and fans of Singin’ in the Rain will not be disappointed, there were plenty of nods to the Hollywood classic that it obviously owes plenty to – and a dream which is both funny and petrifying.
Those of you who have already read reviews will have noticed a common theme, Uggie the Jack Russell (who in my opinion should be up for best supporting actor at this year’s Oscars). He is brilliant, and adds a bittersweet element as he is getting on a bit and people fear this may be his last film, which is a beautiful irony really.
The Artist is a love story that manages to avoid the hammy lines (obviously) and the stereotypical. The romance and allure was magnified by watching it in the Tyneside’s classic screen with its red velvet curtain and old plush seats. It was the perfect context to watch a film about the bygone age of cinema. And seriously, the dog is amazing.
The Artist is showing at the Tyneside Cinema until Thursday, so get your skates and bring some light to your dreary January.
- 4’33″ Silent Film Festival