The Artist ****

Running time: 100 mins Certificate: PG

Synopsis: In the late 1920s. George Valentin (Dujardin) a silent-movie legend falls for a upcoming starlet named Peppy Miller (Bejo) after a chance encounter at a premiere. At first he finds Peppy’s fame-by-association funny, but the arrival of sound turns her into a serious rival in his career.

After all the praise and hype that this so called silent film has received it is sad to say that it is abit of an overall disappointment. So much so that it feels like The King’s Speech all over again, but with a bit more class and style.

The problem is that the story has been done before by a much better movie in the classic Singin’ in the Rain. The premise revolves around the death of silent cinema in the wake of the popularity of talkies with a love story attached. That is it nothing much else happens. It feels more like a parody film made from the 50’s rather than pre 1927 movie. A feel-good happy experience is what writer/director Michel Hazanavicius has intended to make, but somehow it feels hollow and lifeless.

Not to say that the film is well acted from everyone involved, but Uggie the dog outacts everybody and is the most memorable performance here. Hazanavicius has crafted a beautiful looking film that pays a faithful homage a bygone era. Scenes involving Valentin slowly loses his mind as he realizes he’s still silent is potent and also another where he shakes his fists as even his shadow gives up on him, is extremely well conceived done. Elaborate sets, dazzling costumes and stunning choreography bring the whole piece together to make a fantastic spectacular.

It feels odd that The Artist has been dubbed a modern day silent movie, it is not a true movie of this genre as characters talk. The score is repetitive and annoying, it would have been better to have music from that era like The Entertainer.

Compared to the classic silent films of the golden age of cinema that it is supposed to be a tribute to, The Artist is just not in the same theatre never mind ballpark. Audiences should save their time and money by revisiting the classics rather than something that is fairly flawed movie experience.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

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