Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hugo (2011)

Hugo is the story of Hugo Cabret, an orphan who lives in the clock mechanisms in Gare du Nord in 1930s Paris. He is obsessed with a toy maker who has his stall in the station, and as the film progresses it becomes clear that this toy maker is none other than Georges Méliès the famous film director (played by Ben Kingsley). The film then becomes a quest to reignite Georges passion for film-making, and as such becomes a celebration of film.

Featuring quite an impressive cast including (as well as Ben Kingsley) Christopher Lee, Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Richard Griffiths, Chloë Grace Moretz, Emily Mortimer and Sacha Baron Cohen (yup, you heard right!), Hugo really conjures up the ambience of a bygone era of classic cinema, in a similar way to Cinema Paradiso. All the cast are great (yes even Baron Cohen), though for the most part are restricted to cameo appearances as regular features of railway station life. Rather the story concentrates on Hugo (a very mature performance from Asa Butterfield), Georges Méliès, and his goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz).

This is not the kind of film I would normally associate with Martin Scorsese, there is none of the hard gritty feel of many of his films, Hugo is far more fantastical and none the worse for it. Super cast, some amazing special effects, a heartwarming story transporting you to a simpler time and intelligent direction from Scorsese as ever. I’m writing this almost four months after I saw the film, and it’s making me want to see it again.

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