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:: The Artist

It is easy to get blown away with The Artist. It does look spectacular on the big screen, and while it is an enjoyable watch it is hardly what you could call a great film. So why does it generate such Oscar Buzz? Because it is a good film with a fair bit of novelty-factor attached to it, as you seldom see silent films these days (you can’t really say never because the odd short film does show up from time to time).

The Artist does explore a golden age in cinema. It is Hollywood, 1927, and film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) together with his faithful dog and producer, Al Zimmer (John Goodman) are the talk of Hollywood, each film they make together produces gold. However George’s life changes forever when he meets the beautiful and talented Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo). And while she causes personal problems they pale into insignificance compared to the fact that she is one of the new talents that is at the forefront of ‘talky’ films which are making silent film stars like himself obsolete.

Director, Michael Hazanavicius really has taken a massive step forward in his career but to label him a visionary is incorrect seeing the silent film style of filmmaking has been around for a long, long time. And while many are applauding the fact that Hazanavicius has attempted such a film, it should be pointed out that The Artist would be no harder to film then any period piece. Hazanavicius has not really created a work of art, he has just re-created something from the past, and the novelty seems to have worked on audiences.

The most important thing about The Artist is that the story does hold-up, proof that the script does work without dialogue… just remember the key to good story-telling is to show not tell and that is something that Hazanavicius does remarkably well with his script. The fact that there is no dialogue also seems to, on some level, make you closer to the characters at hand.

Acting wise, both Jean Durjardin and Berenice Bejo seems to breeze through their roles with ease, and the films success should see that both will now have a huge chance of making it in Hollywood. However it seems to be John Goodman that steals the scene in the comedy stakes. Goodman steals every scene he is in and it seems a shame not to mention that this is one of his finest efforts, in a career that has now spanned a great deal many years.

The Artist may not be a film you will class as your all-time favourite but it certainly is a great watch and will only be enhanced if you go and see it in an old-time cinema… just for nostalgia sake.