It’s quite ironic that an ode to movies of a by-gone era, ends up being probably the best movie I’ve seen so far this year.
They say the majority of what we communicate is unspoken. If there’s anything that ever proved that it’s The Artist.
The Artist is a silent movie that tells the tale of George Valentin, a silent movie star in the 20’s who’s at the peak of his career. Women want to be with him and men want to be him! George clearly revels in the limelight with his four legged partner in crime, but not everything is perfect for our leading man. When George has his photo taken with a pretty young girl, Peppy Miller, his wife is less than impressed.
Peppy, inspired by her brief encounter with George, applies at a film studio as an extra. She manages to land a bit part as a dancer. After another chance encounter with George while on set, she soon finds herself on the path to success.
Nothing can stop the march of technological progress, and one day George finds himself sitting in a viewing room with Zimmer, the studio head. They are sitting and watching the latest development in modern cinema, a talkie. Zimmer sees talkies as the way of the future. George on the other hand, sees them as nothing but a passing fad. Unfortunately for George he couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s this arrogance, as well as other uncontrollable events, that start George on his fall from grace.
When talking about The Artist, it’s best to talk about the things that make it stand out. Firstly, it’s a silent movie. Yes folks, that means no talking, just music with the odd cutaway to written dialogue. It’s also shot in black and white in a 4:3 aspect ratio (for those of you who aren’t sure what 4:3 means, it basically means that the image is more of a square than a rectangle).
One would think that a movie with no speaking would seem outdated and out of place, but the actors perform brilliantly, the cinematography is fantastic, and the music is extraordinary! The movie has a lot of little touches, like a brilliant dream sequence, that all play with the idea of sound while still being relevant to the story. The ending is a bit predictable, but this doesn’t necessarily detract from it. As the movie was building up towards it’s conclusion I was thinking to myself, “If I was writing this I would do this and this and this”. And then it did, and it was still utterly satisfying. Overall there is little I can actually find to fault with The Artist, which may not appeal to those who like their movies loud and in their face, but which I found completely and utterly enthralling.
Movie rating: Why are you still here? Go see this now! And then go watch it again!