Monday, July 23, 2012

The Artist

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Artist - 3 out of 5

Crack your knuckles and warm up your fingers to let the hateful comments fly because I didn't find The Artist as good as the rest of the world.

That's a look that will get you banned from the local Chuck E. Cheese...and every
playground in the world.

The film centers around a silent film star named George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) who meets a beautiful young dancer/starlet (Berenice Bejo) who becomes so engrossed in the world of the talkies that her career starts to soar into the heavens while Valentin's comes crashing to the ground.

"Ha ha, this is a silent film and no one can hear our overwhelming joy!"

This Academy acclaimed film is herald by critics and viewers alike--it even has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  However, I didn't understand what the big deal was--warm up your fingers for the "well, you're not cultured" or "you just didn't get it" or "you Americans only want movies with explosions in them."

And you must forgive me for being dubious of an Academy Award winning movie
that is more famous for the acting of a dog in it than the rest of the cast.

It would be easy to say that I'm somehow not as good of a human being as all those who love The Artist and picture me as one of those douche bags who care more about films being filled with fireballs and boobs rather than story and character but that's not the case.  In fact, my taste in films is quite eclectic because I'm a movie nut who, in one day, can watch a horrible Michael Bay film and Citizen Kane and be entertained in a unique way for each one.  The reason for my lack of enthusiasm for The Artist has less to do with the lack of cheap violence and more to do with a story I just couldn't get in to.

The movie can't be all bad as the guy who does the voice of Patrick Star in
SpongeBob SquarePants is in it.

The concept of The Artist was something I dug--a silent film being released in our modern times was a cool idea.  However, like all movies built on a gimmick, the novelty starts to wear off quickly...but not enough to make you consider suicide as a way out as the film provides a fantastic sequence where Valentin has a nightmare where sound invades the films that established and boosted his career.

John Goodman apparently played Robert De Niro in this one.

Yes, back in the silent film era, reality TV didn't exist and
there were no sex tapes so famous women got where they
were because of their thankful for the era you
were born in Kim Kardashian.
However, it wasn't the concept that kept me from appreciating this one as much as everyone else.  Like I said, the story didn't do much for me.  Watching one character become a star while another burned out did little to absorb me into the film--as well as a hammy performance from Jean Dujardin only hurt the potential for me to get into this one.  I realize that Dujardin was trying to capture the "over-the-top/overly-emotive" style of the young days of film and this made sense during the sequences that compromised the "filming a movie within a movie/Inception-style" stuff but when the actor playing the director yells "cut" (or a title card that signifies the speaking in a silent film) and Valentin begins to woo the young starlet; Peppy,  is there still a need for him to ham it up like he's still in front of the camera?  Every other actor in this one, including James Cromwell and John Goodman, delivered in a way that appears to look like they were doing their "run of the mill" film only someone muted the T.V.  Dujardin's scenery chewing made it extremely difficult to find any connection with his character as his facial expressions seemed like a LVL 1 Mime working his facial muscles for more XP (wow, somehow I worked in a gaming reference into a review of The Artist.)

"Must...get...a...hammier...facial expression."

From a technical and creative standpoint, The Artist is a great movie but with a central character who's acting was unable to resonate with me and a replay value that is completely null and void, I just couldn't see the movie other than a mildly entertaining, one-shot film to see one time and never think about again.  However, despite the lack of replay value the movie had for me, I did--believe it or not--watch it a second time.  Only this time I watched the entire film at 1.5 speed for the true silent film experience!

He's the Anti-Kristen Stewart...he gives off TOO much emotion.


  1. LOL.. One of the funniest reviews yet.

    Speaking of Rotten Tomatoes ratings, I saw 'Children of Men' (in theatre, no less) influenced by it's 93% rating on RT. Boy, was I in for a major disappointment.

    Have you seen that movie. Did you like it....


    1. I did see Children of Men and enjoyed the premise and a lot of the camera work blew me away but it turned into a generic action film.

  2. I agree, I loved the idea of this film and I think it had a lot of potential. Although I can see your point in that it needed a slightly bigger more epic storyline, I think that having a not as significant storyline helped to focus even more on the acting and emotional expressions. It helped me concentrate on the story with the fact with the fact that it was simpler. I was excited when my Dish coworker suggested that I catch this film. I wasn’t able to watch it on the big screen but I rented it on, I loved not having to leave my couch and loved watching it on my lap top, it saved me so much time.

  3. This was a very well-made film and had its moments where it captures the whole spirit and essence of the silent film era but it’s not that life-changing experience that everybody says it is. Good review Ron.


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