Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Artist

An evening outing a couple of days ago for members of the Xorg collective, to the cinema to see 'The Artist', the much-vaunted silent movie (in black and white) that threatens to scoop all the Oscars this year.
I don't know whether or not The Artist is better than all the other nominees in all respects, but it should definitely win an award or two and it is most definitely worth paying money to see.
The story line is simple and straightforward, concerning a silent movie actor's struggle to adapt to the advent of talking pictures combined with the basic plot of 'A Star is Born', where an established star is outshone by his protege. It is a silent movie in that there is no spoken dialogue, but there is a well written musical score and some other sounds. Don't worry about not being able to follow what's going on though as there are occasional screens of dialogue at key points and often you can lip read what's being said.
The strength of the movie lies in how well it is made and the performances of the two leads. And a dog that does tricks. (Maybe they'll invent a special Oscar for the dog.) The point being that they act in the film as silent movie actors used to do, with exaggerated gestures and expressions thus giving a very authentic feel to the movie. But there is also wit and gentle parody of the genre, not least in the leading male character's matinee idol looks and grooming, and his broad Gene Kelly smile. Any road up, five stars!
Note: Minus five stars for Cineworld, however. Prior to the movie, we were bombarded with half an hour of advertisements and trailers at deafening volume, edited together by someone with the attention span of a teenage gnat. Moreover, we could hear the bangs and crashes from the screen next door where they were presumably watching a film about speeding 42-ton trucks being blown up by 15 megaton bombs interspersed with random machine gun fire.

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