It would take an Artist to reverse the damage done by Blockbuster Cinema. American film prides itself on the spectacular, the visually stimulating and the plot driven. But having been a movie buff since I was 5, I’ve come to ask myself: Who cares? So they died? Who cares? So they caught the bad guy, who cares? Why the apathy? Because American Cinema forgets to include the audience on who these characters really are. We know each character to their lowest common denominator, to their most easily digestible extent, that’s all. That guys good because he fights for the right side, that
guys bad because he fights for the wrong side. Even the quarks have become cookie cutter, but not in this movie. Jean Dujardin, delivers a heartwarming performance that is fantastic, but not cheesy. Spectacular, but not overdone.
This beautiful story is about the journey of a Silent Film Star George Valentin (Dujardin) who is quickly being left behind by the revelations in Cinematic Technology, sound. He meets a young starlet, Peppy Miller (played by Bérénice Bejo) , who can match his vivacious creativity but quickly learns that while so similar her rise to fame in the modern era puts them worlds apart. Ultimately it is the story of one mans struggle to overcome his own pride. And his journey to learn to adapt to life for the sake of his love for life- something he learns in lost in his resistance.
Because we can not hear from him, we are in a position to really see him. You can really look at him, you can now notice the creases that form in his face when he smiles, the pain in his eyes as he cries, you are put in a position where you can laugh as he laughs, with him and perhaps for him. Because you are able to get to know the characters and shared so many laughs, you also are able to care when they cry. And when all sound is finally cut, you are able to hear how violently it echoes, how the space created is filled by all the emotion you now have for these beautiful characters.
So much of the heart of Cinema has been lost in the shuffle of quick witted lines and massive explosions, this is an opportunity to relive it as it was originally intended. This is not to say that any silent film offers this sort of gold, in fact, many of them are really just as cheesy as most films today. Director Michel Hazanavicius does not give into the easy tricks and cliche’s they create new visual events that are truly a delight to watch.