A silent, black and white French film about the end of silent cinema in Hollywood, how could that possibly work? This is the task Michel Hazanavicius set himself with The Artist and he has made a masterpiece as a result. In The Artist George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) a star of silent films crosses paths with Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) a young dancer about to hit it big. As his star wanes, hers shines brighter than ever.
The Artist embraces the tropes of the silent era; dialogue cards, “mugging” and the all important score are used to great effect, both celebrating and slightly toying with a long abandoned way of making films. A moment towards the end takes quite a dark moment and uses one of these tropes to not only wrong-foot the audience but to lighten the mood and play with the format.
Everything is perfect with The Artist, it is an easy five stars and shows just what can happen when you do something different for a change. There’s not much more to say here other than that this is the most fun I’ve had in the cinema all year, a relief after some of the harrowing films I’ve sat through in the past week.
The Artist has no UK release scheduled yet but it will be a crime if we aren’t treated to at least a limited release.