Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Death of Silence

The Artist is a sleek movie about a silent film actor George Valentin ( played by Frenchman Jean Dujardin) who experiences the demise of his career with rise of “talkies” or movies with sound.  As George’s star declines, one of the youthful extras in his movies Peppy Miller’s (Berenice Bejo) career soars as she embraces the new technology.  George and Pepper have incredible chemistry, but George’s pride won’t let him join in on the ingenue’s success. Because  the movie is in black and white and is silent, it has been getting a lot of Oscar buzz.  Indeed, in this day and age of car chases and CGI effects, it is rare to see a story stripped down to its basics.  Also, to tell the story of the demise of silent film via a silent film is so cheeky.  When the director Michel Hazanavicius does use sound, he uses it very sparingly and only to greatly enhance the story.  Although I enjoyed the human story very much, the real scene stealer was George’s adorable Jack Russell Terrier who was a companion both on and off the set.  That dog acted its butt off.  I also enjoyed James Cromwell who played George’s loyal driver Clifton.  [However, whenever Cromwell was onscreen, I could not help saying to myself “That ‘ill do, pig.” (see Babe)]  In any case, The Artist is a sweet if silent ode to days gone by.

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