About Grant

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New York, NY, United States
Film director and screenwriter. Cinephile since birth. Director of DREAMS OF THE WAYWARD (2013). Film Studies MA student at Columbia University.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Film Review: "The Artist" (2011) directed by Michel Hazanavicius 5/5

In the year 2011, who would've thought that one of the most talked about and well-recieved films of the year would be a black and white silent film filmed in the fashion of a true 1920s silent-era film?
Serving almost as a glorified tribute of sorts to talking pictures like "Singin' In The Rain" which deals with very similar topical matters (and even homaging to "Citizen Kane"), "The Artist" lives as a film relevant to the art of film and the history of cinema while embodying the silent film persona.
The film follows George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) who is perhaps one of the most famous silent-film actors in this fictional Hollywood setting. Conflict arises though when talking-pictures become the new thing in Hollywood.
Jean Dujardin is brilliant as George (he looks like a stereotypical silent movie star, and acts just like one in a silent film about silent films). Also notable is the well-trained dog in "The Artist" who is owned by George Valentin and stars with him in all of his silent films. The dog is almost like a person, and the silent-film format really enhances the dog's performance. The entire film is driven by great physical acting which holds much of the comedy (and film director Michel Hazanavicius' control and knowledge of silent films in relation to cinema as a whole makes this movie work as a miraculous capsule of a time long-gone). The music in the film is enchanting and highly emotional (which aids in relating to our unheard characters, but it doesn't take away from the experience).
Being set in the silent-era on silent-era movie sets, "The Artist" also seems to accurately depict the Hollywood environment and the art of watching and making films in the 1920s (everything from the orchestra being conducted in the theater as audiences watch the film, to on-the-spot casting opportunities).
The movie is essentially a rise-and-fall film (much like "Citizen Kane"), but it is a comedy in the same vein as "Singin' In The Rain". Families everywhere should race to the theater to see this film! It is a joyful comedy with the same taste and class as the classic filmmakers of the time (and a unique experience in our day and age).

My ranking: 5/5 stars

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