DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius
May Contain Spoilers!
The BIG winner of the 2011/2012 awards season, The Artist had a lot to live up to. Black and white, 1.33:1 and effectively silent, The Artist was stripped of almost all the necessities of a 2012 blockbuster but in doing so, successfully highlights that film isn’t really about flashy effects, colour, widescreen or sound, but innovation, wit and class, three things that The Artist has in abundance.
A film about film, this is a simple tale of a fictional silent movie star unwilling to make the change to sound in the late 1920’s, and his eventual fall. But this is not a tragedy, more be it an uplifting tale of a man who finds love and a regains a sense of self-worth, but it’s not the story which sell this, it’s the highly innovative way in which it has been put together by director, Michel Hazanavicius.
He seems to have captured almost perfectly, the tone of the silent era, and aided by a cast who seem to have the same understanding of the gestures and mannerisms, not to mock or even imitate but to capture the feel, the inflections necessary to convey a silent film, this is not a parody of the “silly” silent era, but a true silent movie made in and for 2012. There are some nice moments here, with a fantastic use if the medium, using sound at times but letting the music, by Ludovic Bource, to carry the story and along with some stunning D.O.P. work this is a culmination of film making from script to screen, with the every department from cast , writers and directors all coming together with a seemingly unified vision and classy interpretation of silent cinema, both as it was and as it needs to be to tell a story.
I find it hard to find fault with this film, technically brilliant but it was a little simple. A technical feat but the screenplay left me wanting a little more. Obviously this evokes the ghost of Singin’ In The Rain (1952), a similar story told in a vaguely similar way but that had something else, a relentless pace, witty script, memorable music and a charismatic cast, and that is pretty much the case here but this just lacks a little umph, and you end up admiring this more than loving it.
Highly recommended, but whilst technically perfect, the artistry, ironically, is ever so slightly subdued by its technical prowess.