Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Artist: Blu Ray Review

The Artist: Blu Ray Review

Released by Roadshow Home Entertainment
Rating: PG

So, here it is then – the black and white silent film which has entranced the voters of the Academy and netted itself 10 Oscar nominations – which is no surprise given the production notes to said film describe it as: “ a heartfelt and entertaining valentine to classic American cinema.”

The year is 1927 and the place is Hollywoodland. Jean Dujardin (OSS 117) is the crème and toast of the town as silent actor and star of Kinograph Studios,  George Valentin, whose pencil thin moustache, general antics with his dog and derring do on the silent big screen regularly enthral audiences.

On the premiere of his latest film, Valentin meets Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) when she’s thrust onto the red carpet via a series of mishaps.

The next day Variety’s full of who that girl is next to it guy Valentin – and gradually with a little guidance from Dujardin (and also because of a little attraction), Peppy begins to get bigger parts.

However, the wind of change is blowing through the industry as the idea of the talkies begin to arrive on the screen – and before Valentin knows it, his Hollywood star is on the severe decline – while Peppy’s willingness to embrace the change means she’s on the up….

But will Valentin grasp the opportunity or slide into obscurity?

It’s easy to see why the Academy’s fallen for this nostalgic and charming piece – it’s a slice of old school film and something which doesn’t come around every day thanks to the world of CGI and effects.

At the heart of this though – and it’s a nagging thought many will have – is it worth 10 Oscar nominations?
There’s a lot of subtle and laugh out loud humour in this film – from cute dog antics to a slice of old school slapstick; and there’s certainly plenty of heart, pathos and sadness as Valentin begins his slide out of Hollywoodland’s favour.

Wonderfully shot, stunningly evocative of the era and a superb soundtrack (which all good silent films need) bring a real sense of old school Hollywood vividly to life, which is no bad thing at all.

Dujardin is great and captivating as he mugs his way through the role of a silent film actor (as they were wont to do in that era); and Bejo is certainly a beautifully attractive presence up on the screen and the duo have a great chemistry (as well as acting form in prior outings). 
Sure, it’s a Hollywood piece celebrating Hollywood’s past (and that may be why Oscar’s come a-knocking and critics are loving it) but the Artist is old school cinematic joy for anyone who’s loved a moment out to the cinema. It doesn’t harm it that it’s lit up by two very impressive presences and a story which is engaging, charming and outright funny.

Don’t be put off by the plaudits and afraid of the fact it’s got Oscar buzz – experience it for yourself and see why this crowd pleaser is one of the unlikeliest winners of the year.

Extras: Making of, locations, those behind the artist - a wealth of extras


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