Friday, February 24, 2012
I went to see Hugo (the not-3D version) at a wonderful little repertory theatre on Bloor Street in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, and WOW, guys!
I loved it. I simply LOVED it. I expected to like it, because a) it's directed by Martin Scorsese, so that's a no-brainer; b) it's nominated for 11 Academy Awards, which usually means it's good (but not always); and c) I had read in reviews that it was a tribute to the history of film. But it was so much better than I expected it to be.
The real delight for me was in the realisation that Hugo isn't just a tribute to old movies in the literal sense. Yes, the story does spend a considerable amount of time dwelling on the history of filmmaking, from the first film of a train rushing into a station up through the hundreds and hundreds of short films that followed. But there is much, much more to it than that. The real joy was in seeing that the way Hugo views the world, watching people from the safety of his various hiding places throughout the station, is akin to watching a string of short silent films. The beautiful simplicity of this story, of the circular nature of who Hugo is and what he accomplishes throughout the film, is marvellous. The camera work is perfect - this film was perfect.
A film that brings all of its elements together to make a seamless whole is so, so rare, but this film does exactly that. This is one worth owning and watching again and again.
And about those other reviews? A lot of them said that kids might be bored by the historical parts, but my 8-year-old son and step-brother loved them, so this movie works for cinephiles and newbies alike. Watch it.
What's at the top of your list of must-see movies?