Friday, January 27, 2012

Film Review of "Hugo"


Winner of the 2012 Golden Globe for Best Director (Martin Scorsese) and nominated for 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Director

Martin Scorses’s Hugo is set in Paris in 1931 and begins with a breathtaking shot of the city, as the camera swoops down on to a busy railway station. It ends up on the 12-year-old Hugo, who is peering at the world from behind a giant clock. Hugo (Asa Butterfield) has inherited a love of tinkering with machinery from his late father, and has quite recently taken over the job of superintending the station's clocks from his drunken uncle. The boy lives in the hidden tunnels and passageways of the building, where he's repairing a 19th-century automaton. He's a crafty Charles Dickens like orphan, a cinematic voyeur looking out on the world. Fate has brought him there, and it then draws him into the orbit of a querulous old man, Georges (Ben Kingsley), who runs an old-fashioned shop on the station selling toys and doing mechanical repairs, assisted by his 12-year-old god-daughter, Isabelle. Hugo becomes involved with the old man when he's accused of theft and has a cherished book of drawings confiscated. He is then assisted by Isabelle in retrieving the book, and in turn, when he discovers she's forbidden to go to the movies, he takes her on a great "adventure", a visit to the lost world of silent movies. A labyrinth of plot twists takes the pair on a journey into a mysterious past in which they discover the origins of the movies in the late 19th century careers of the Lumière brothers.

Hugo is a moving, funny and exhilarating film, an imaginative history lesson in the form of a detective story. The film is a great defense of the cinema as a dream world, a complementary, countervailing, transformative force to the brutalizing reality we see all around us. It rejects the sneers of those intellectuals and moralizers who see in film a debilitating escapism. Hugo has a wonderfully gifted team behind it with a talented British cast (except for the delightful young American Chloë Grace Moretz as Isabelle). Scorsese has created a timeless and wondrously imaginative film. It’s a love letter to the cinema and its preservation. An instant classic.

Run-time – 1hour, 27 minutes
Production – Paramount Pictures (2011)
Director – Martin Scorsese
Cast - Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, Jude Law

Watch trailer -

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