MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
FilmPulse Score: 9/10
By now, most of you have been hearing buzz about the little silent film that could, The Artist. Set in 1927 Hollywood, the film tells the story of a famous silent film star as his career comes to an abrupt halt with the advent of talkies. To make matters worse, he indirectly sparks the talking pictures trend by discovering their star, Peppy Miller.
First off, I’ll just say that I loved this movie. I had no expectations going into it, and honestly had little interest in seeing it. Needless to say, I walked away from this film in awe. Believe the hype, this movie is near perfection.
The big hesitation with this movie is the fact that it is, for the most part, completely silent. While creating a modern silent film may seem like an impossible (and unsellable) feat, director Michel Hazanavicius makes it work with wonderful results.
Everything from the score, to the sets, to the on-screen dialogue cuts appear to have been meticulously crafted in order to preserve the 20’s and 30’s film style. The crisp black and white not only enhances the classic look of the film, but also highlights details such as the ornate designs on the theater balconies and the lavish homes the stars live in.
Although the story is one we have seen before, the amount of emotion brought to the screen without any dialogue what-so-ever is something entirely unique and enchanting, and overshadows the lack-luster plot. Because the film was shot at a slightly faster speed, all the characters move and react just a few ticks quicker, which emphasizes even the smallest glance the stars give to each other.
I was concerned that I would find myself bored, especially considering some of my favorite movies are very heavily dialogue driven, and yet I was floored at how engrossed I was with this film. It made me realize that even with little to no dialogue you still feel how the characters are feeling, and you still know what they are saying, even if you can’t hear it.
The Artist is, without a doubt, one of the finest films of the year, and possibly the decade. It’s simply a superb piece of film-making. With an amazing cast, a heartfelt story, and one of the best endings I’ve seen in recent years, The Artist will most assuredly bring home many awards, spawn copy-cats, and is destined become a modern classic.