This movie has been all over the media since Christmas and the hype around it, had made this movie out to be ‘definitely one you won’t want to miss’. The Artist, a silent movie in 2012, would it work? Maybe the hype had been built up too much.
I had been waiting to be blown away by this. The world of cinema has come a long way since Georges Méliès and The Lumiere Brothers. Surround sound and the option of 3D are commonplace, filling the senses with overloaded sound and imagery. The lack of dialogue in this film would need to be compensated through film action and direction.
The story revolves around George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) an actor who fears the arrival of the ‘Talkies’ and his possible popularity slide. His story is crossed with that of Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), a dancer/actress, Star in the making and her rise as the ‘Talkies’ take hold.
The idea and concept of the film is good, I enjoyed the first ten minutes, which included many laughs. As the story went on though, the lack of spoken dialogue seemed to be more of a gimmick than anything else. At times, I thought there was a slightly excessive use of written dialogue captions on screen. We could see what the actors were doing, these are just doubling up on the information we had already been given.
The soundtrack obviously had to be brilliant and it is. There are times throughout the film when the soundtrack ends just after a scene, giving the impression of a live orchestra playing along to the images projected on screen.
For me the standout scene of the entire film is where Valentin is in his dressing room, the accompanying music has stopped and all we hear are the clinks of items as he touches him. This is definitely the best scene in the film, however the story didn’t give me the wow factor I had hoped.
The film is worth seeing if you are interested in sound and sound design. Overall though, it felt just like a gimmick and a little bit of a let down.