Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hugo (2011)

Year:  2011
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Jude Law
Before I begin my review….
                Hugo to me was like having that “Hallelujah” moment where you finally see the light.
                I smiled, I cried and I was devastated when it was over! This was very much a “me” movie in that it contained so many things which I love such as the city of Paris, history, film, books, originality and a director by the name of Martin Scorsese.
                I have to admit, until Hugo I didn’t know much about George Melies, besides that he was the creator of the early film, A Trip To The Moon. When Hugo first speaks of his father telling him about the film he saw where the rocket hit the moon right in the eye, I immediately saw that infamous image from the film in my mind.
                However, of course I had to wonder how much of Hugo is actually based on fact. Not that it really mattered because it made a great story anyway, but it was still intriguing. So I did my research and came up with the answer that everything we see in Hugo about Melies’ professional life is true, but his personal life not so much. I can’t really say too much on this topic without giving away too much about the film.
                I am really looking forward to reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Oh, there is another thing which makes this film complete for me, a Selznick involved! Brian Selznick’s grandfather was the first cousin of none other than David O. Selznick, the producer of many a film in the golden years of Hollywood and was most well known for producing the epic Gone With The Wind.
                It is not often a film like Hugo is brought to our cinema screens.
                Martin Scorsese has taken a chance with this film which is completely different to any other film he has ever made, and has proved that he really can do anything. Hugo is a beautiful film with a fantasy feel to it, yet the characters are so real and real human emotions are dealt with.
                Hugo tells the story of recently orphaned Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who lives a quiet life in a train station in Paris in the 1930’s and looks after the clocks there. He feels like the only link he still has to his father (Jude Law) is the automaton which Hugo is trying to fix. His world starts to shift and he is taken on a great adventure when he starts to work for the train station’s unhappy toy maker, George Melies (Ben Kingsley) and meets his god-daughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz). He and Isabelle set out to solve a mystery that will change all their lives forever.
                Hugo is beautiful from the very beginning. It is visually stunning from the opening scene, where the inside of a clock turns into a shot of 1930’s Paris. The visuals make you feel as though you are watching a pretty, fantasy film, but there is nothing to support the notion of this being a fantasy film. Every scene is beautiful in its own way and the recreation of Paris in the early 1900’s is spellbinding.
                The film is for people of all ages. On the surface, Hugo comes across as a children’s film with the protagonist being a child. Yet, there is so much in the film that will keep people of all ages entertained right up until the end.
                It is incredibly hard to fault this film. Scorsese has taken such a risk with bringing the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick to the screen considering his past resume of films. Hugo is unlike anything he has ever done before and it is truly a triumph for him. The film is so tight and perfectly directed. Everything is done to perfection and every little piece of the film is a masterpiece.
                Asa Butterfield is absolutely superb as Hugo. He is heart-breaking as the orphan who clearly just wants to know where he is going and just misses his father. There is very little in the film of Jude Law, who plays Hugo’s father, and with such a small role, it is unusual to feel the connection between two characters when they appear on screen for so little time together. However, you actually feel more chemistry between Hugo and his father after his father dies. This is a credit to the young Butterfield. He is wonderful.
                Ben Kingsley is also perfect in the role of George Melies. He is the absolute perfect choice for the role, and not just because the resemblance is startling between the two. You really feel Melies’ pain of the past and he is, like Butterfield, heart-breaking. Helen McCrory is also wonderful as Melies’ wife, as she gives an emotionally charged performance and is so likable, even when she isn’t supposed to be.
                Sacha Baron Cohen is also very good in Hugo as the station’s inspector. He is very funny, but in a different way than we are used to. He is charmingly funny and at times you can really see the dramatic actor behind all the comedy. Chloe Grace Moretz is also very good, but her role isn’t as emotionally charged as her co-stars.
                Hugo is the type of film that does not come around very often and is a complete joy to behold. An absolute masterpiece.

Welcome to The Invention of Hugo Cabret

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