Desimartini | Updated - February 24, 2012 01:24 AM IST
Verdict - The cinematic event of our times
it takes a few minutes for the fact to sink in that the next two hours would have no dialogues and just action on screen. Once the initial awkwardness is done with, The Artist dazzles beyond compare, as one marvels at the guts and vision of its makers to attempt something this brave in our times.
George Valentin is an aging superstar of the silent era whose pride makes him dismiss the advent of talkies as a mere fad that wouldn't last. "They come to see me, not to hear me" he says, unable to see that his resistance to change would be his downfall. Peppy Miller is an extra who seizes the opportunity to rise and shine with the talking motion pictures, even as George is on a steady path to penury and decline. George's fight with his own pride and Miller's love for him form the crux of this delightful piece of cinema.
Made completely sans color and voice except for the very climax, The Artist is deceptively simple. Without a single dialogue, the movie beautifully pus across the importance of being able to adapt and survive in life. Director Michel Hazanavicius creates an engaging and layered narrative with subtle nuances and old world romance in it without any gimmickry of of today's 3D technologically advanced films. The plot is simple, the story line predictable, yet an innate charm seeps through, not to forget the immense energy and exuberance of the silent era that is splendidly captured.
The film, however belongs to Jean Dujardin, playing George, and Brnice Bejo playing Peppy. Their task is difficult, emoting without words, at the cost of looking overly exaggerated, yet both put in sterling performance.
Jean lives the role, with his warm and benevolent starry airs, while Brnice covers the graph of a rising starlet to a diva with finesse. George's aversion to talking extends to his personal life, with he refusing to even talk to his wife about their troubled marriage. Peppy's energy and love for George is boundless, taking care of him even in his darkest hour and giving him hope. Together, Jean and Brnice bring out such subtle shades in their roles with elan, making it one of the most refined performances in recent times.
The Artist is an ode to silent cinema and the art of silence. It takes the side of silent era, emphasizing the fact that cinema was never about loud hue and cry. Art, as well as the artist, needs to be seen more and heard less.
Exceedingly tender and unabashedly funny and irresistibly romantic, The Artist is an exquisitely crafted cinematic gem. Do not miss this one at any cost.