Film review: HUGO (four our of five stars)

The key to the whole story.
The key to the whole story.
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(12A) 127mins

Director: Martin Scorcese

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz

AFTER some fairly sub-standard 3D movies in the past couple of years, it’s great to enjoy one that uses the technology to enhance the movie.

Several directors have had all manner of objects firing out of the screen, just because they could.

Thankfully, that master of film Scorcese has used 3D to add depth to this film.

A brilliant example is Sacha Baron Cohen’s face in close up, leering out of the screen to enhance his character’s imposing and threatening nature.

This isn’t just a lesson in the use of 3D, though. It’s an excellent movie, based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, that can be enjoyed by all the family.

Asa Butterfield plays Hugo, living in a Paris railway station after the death of his father.

He has a lonely life, secretly working on winding up the various clocks.

All he has of his late father’s possessions is an automaton which he is trying to repair and a notebook.

As he scavenges for springs and bits of metal he meets toy seller Georges Melies, based in the station (Kinglsey), and his god-daughter Isabelle (Moretz).

Their lives become closely involved as the secret of the automatom and Melies’ past are revealed.

Sacha Baron Cohen plays the station inspector, out to catch any homeless youngsters wandering round. It’s a perfect role for him, with a mixture of pure comedy and sadness.

The only slight problem is that his story is almost a separate film, as is an ongoing thwarted relationship between two other locals in the station (played by Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths).

But this is a small matter as Scorcese takes you on a magical trip.

It’s certainly the feel-good film of the year so far.

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley