Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Hugo (2011)

I had wanted to review The King’s Speech, but I’d rather not discuss biopic after biopic, even if the contents are different. Today, I’m discussing Hugo, the most recent work of famed director Martin Scorsese. I would be surprised if you don’t know this director’s name. Among his best works are Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Casino, Goodfellas, and Cape Fear (I may be slightly infatuated with Robert de Niro). Hugo is somewhat of a departure from Scorsese’s more serious films, an adventure-drama about a boy who lives in a train station and secretly maintains all of the clocks there.

What really interested me about this film was the core of the story, which deals with the creation of the moving picture. Much of the plot is based in reality. To elaborate: the first major public display of movie magic was by the Lumière Brothers in 1895. Stage magician Georges Méliès was so captivated by their work that he also began to make films. You may know his most famous work, A Trip To The Moon (1902) from pop culture references. In short, these three men were instrumental in the evolution of cinema from a sideshow attraction to the granduer it elicits today.

The story of Hugo’s titular protagonist is a grand mystery that takes him from the bowels of the train station into the winter streets of Paris. With the help of a young girl, he searches for the means to make his father’s dream come true. I hope I have made the movie sound inspiring enough. It offers a sort of dream-like atmosphere that is filled with unique and humorous characters. Among those actors fortunate enough to work with Scorsese: Sir Ben Kingsly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, and Jude Law. While each actor gives the audience a fair turn, Sir Ben Kingsly especially delivers an excellent performance.

Although at 128 minutes the film can seem slightly drawn out, it’s worth watching to see what Scorsese is capable of when his characters aren’t trying to murder one another in gang wars. Hugo is a family-friendly film that offers something for every member of the family, even if its historical roots may be a little too lofty for children.

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