I don’t normally go hunting for Academy Award Winners… but even I must admit that The Artist is a pretty exceptional piece of craftsmanship.
One could argue that this is backwards thinking; why rejuvenate cinema nearly 100 years old? Well, the film itself explains why these little detours into the past are important.
The film’s set in the late 1920s, where George Valentin is a massively successful, charismatic and confident Silent Film actor. But upon meeting an upcoming starlet called Peppy Millar, the advent of sound in cinema arrives, and while Peppy rises in fame and fortune, George’s career comes crashing down around him.
The one crucial element I most enjoyed about The Artist – and the most unexpected – was it being about cinema at this game changing era, and how this Silent Film–style film actually implements the sound revelation so effectively. There’s a dream sequence that works this message better than any dialogue or text screen ever could!
The film isn’t so romantically hinged as posters might lead you to believe either. While George and Peppy have a relationship, it is vastly overshadowed by their careers turning tables on them; the story becomes bleak in the second act as George’s pride begins to destroy him.
The underlying message though is the changing shape of cinema, and there is no greater example than the advent of sound. The Artist’s existence may seem phony to many, but the fact that it is implemented at all and so accurately and uniquely, proves looking back is as valuable as looking forward.
You might be intimidated by the concept of “silence”, but these films always have musical accompaniment (and I might add that this film breaks the rules once or twice) and sure, it might be the quietest experience you’ve had in the cinema, but you’d be surprised how endearing things can be when stripped of all their distractions.
Overall, it was definitely a good experience, I can’t think of many things wrong with it!