The conceptualisation of this film is first class - as is the acting, lighting and the film's ability to transport the viewer back to the heyday of Hollywood when stars were stars and paparazzi hadn't been invented. The story is a simple one played out in dozens of other films: star has chance encounter with aspiring dancer and as the star's fortunes decline, the dancer enjoys a meteoric rise to become Hollywood's leading lady.
The film begins in the mid 1920's and the star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the king of Silent Movies. A chance encounter with an aspiring dancer, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) leads to them performing together and the chemistry between them sparks into something magical. The story follows their respective decline and rise and delivers a predictable outcome.
As I said, if you want a black and white silent film made with the latest digital production techniques with a good cast and some excellent dancing - then this is the film you. To be honest - I didn't enjoy it. For me the only things of note were:
- The concept of the film itself
- The acting/dancing performances of the two leads
- The performance of Uggie as 'The Dog'
I have never been a fan of black and white silent films. As a child I used to dread the endless Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy et al films that showed on TV. The Artist excels in its genre - but as the story itself depicts, silent films died a death with the advent of the talkies in the 1930's. It is a film that is as self-indulgent as it is melodramatic. The fact that it garners such acclaim is, I feel, only attributable to a collective longing for nostalgia at a time when the world mood is gloomy and Hollywood is struggling to keep up with changes in technology and production.
Don't hurry to see it - if it appeals, wait until Christmas when the disc will discounted to 2.99! I'll give it 5/10.