Review: The Artist
I won’t talk! I won’t say a word!
Michel Hazanavicius silent film has won as many admirers as it has detractors. The film seems destined to be known as the gimmicky black and white silent film that harks back to Hollywood’s golden age. It’s unfortunate as The Artist provides simple pleasures and regardless of whether it has a ‘legacy’, it’s an entertaining film that exists in the here and now.
That doesn’t mean that The Artist isn’t without fault. Its main one the story of a silent film actor (Jean Dujardin) as he rails against the change to sound in the 1930s never overcomes the artifice of setting. The story; the beats and the drama created by Hazanavicius and his cast male for a predictable film (it is another version of A Star is Born).
There’s little depth beyond Dujardin’s performance and even then his performance isn’t one for the ages, just a very good one in a role. Whatever difficulty the role brings is erased by the French actor’s charm.
And that’s what makes the film as entertaining as it is – charm. It’s uncomplicated, visually it’s clever and the performances are good all round. It could have done with a little more complexity and emotion though.
Rehashing a familiar story does make it tired in places and you can argue until you’re blue in the face as to whether using black and white is a gimmick, its real problem is that there isn’t much reason to care.