Some Couple Reviews The Artist
Glenn: Well, we're a bit late on this one, but since it won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor, we decided to see The Artist last night. For anyone not familiar with this film, it gained a lot of attention for being a black and white picture, done almost completely in the old silent film style, with no on-screen sound, only a pit orchestra and dialogue cards. It follows the career of silent film movie star George Valentine (Jean Dujardin), as he sees his career nosedive with the arrival of the talkies.
Kik: A movie with no audio dialogue, not even subtitles, had me worried that I'd be bored out of my mind, but this film definitely kept my attention all the way through. That's really impressive, and thanks a lot to the music, I think. I've been asking to see this one for a while, so thanks to my husband for going to see this while it's still in the theaters, instead of the other older release that he wanted to see this week.
Glenn: Who knows how long I'll have to wait now, to again see wolf punching on the big screen! And even if it happens in the near future, odds are the incomparable Liam Neeson won't be the one doing the fisticuffs.
Kik: Well, we're likely to see John Carter next week, and Hunger Games the week after that. So don't worry, your cinematic blood thirst will soon be quenched. Didn't you want to see the Oscar's movie of they year?
Glenn: Sort of. I was afraid it'd be a little dry, and artistic for me. Especially after seeing the tear-jerker Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close last time we went to the theater, I was ready for lighter fare. Luckily, this film was a lot more accessible, and lighthearted than I had imagined. There was a lot of winking at the audience in this film, both literal and figurative. Some of it I liked: The rising star Peppy MIller (Berenice Bejo) new movie is playing in the Bijou Theater. Some of it was too heavy-handed for me, like when the now-possessionless George Valentine slinks across a street, while just behind him stands the marquee "Lonely Star."
Kik: I liked a lot of shots. Her, in the dressing room with his coat was cute. The one, I think it was in the movie studios office, with all the stairs was really neat. It had all this great movement, and looked almost like a musical set.
Glenn: Yeah, the symbolism was well done there. Valentine is on his way down, and Miller is on her way up. They meet briefly in the middle. So many of those shots are, I'm sure, playing homage to classic black and white pictures. If we were real film critics, we might even be able to name a few... oh well.
Kik: The "sound sequence" early in the movie was fun, almost like The Twilight Zone.
Glenn: I had heard that there was some sound in the picture, so at the start of the "sound sequence" I thought "oh, from here on, the movie will have sound!" But the very next scene, which starts off completely silent, has you waiting and wondering to see if that's true. It's a good trick, leaving the audience as disoriented as the main character.
Kik: The individual performances were wonderful. The Peppy MIller character was very cute. Valentine was really funny as a suave fame whore, and then later as a troubled soul. And I'll always appreciate a dance number or two in a movie.
Glenn: The way you feel about dance numbers, I feel about wolf punching.
But I digress. The two lead actors did a wonderful job, capturing the exaggerated facial expressions and gestures needed for these roles. Interestingly, in interviews the actors said that they actually had a full script of real lines to learn, so for them, the actual filming wasn't that different from a normal movie. The difference is more on our side of things, since we can't hear any of it. But every time they said something, and you didn't need the title cards to know what they meant, it was a little thrilling. Words really do get in the way sometimes.
Shifting gears though, I thought the plot was painfully one dimensional. The only tension in the film was the details of the resolution.
Kik: Yeah, I wanted more romance, or maybe a love triangle! By the end of the picture, all that early sexual tension seemed pretty wasted to me.
Glenn: The whole movie is one clever nod to the early days of cinematography with great performances, and a wonderful score. That same feeling of silent film nostalgia that is at the core of this movie, also keeps it from being anything more. The plot can be seen a mile away,and oscillates between darkness and comedy a few too many times for me. It became both jarring and predictable by the end.
Kik: It was cute, but might have been better if they focused more on comedy, or romance, while writing the script. It was an entertaining little film, but it was no King's Speech.
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