Film review: The Artist (five out of five stars)

The Artist.
The Artist.

PG 100 mins

Director: Michael Hazanavicius

Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman

THERE’S only a few chances left to watch this movie on the big screen - go ahead and spoil yourself.

The Artist could have fallen flat on its face in dramatic style as it attempts o recreate the silent movie era - thankfully, it stays on its own two feet and provides 100 minutes of superb film-making.

Its theme of a silent movie star being overtaken by the new ‘talkies’ is hardly a new topic - Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly is one of the most obvious examples.

And Jean Dujardin’s character Georges Valentin has more than a passing resemblance to Gene Kelly.

But the difference between these films is, of course, The Artist is in black and white and is (almost) silent.

Instead, the action is played out for the most part with just an excellent score by Ludovic Bource and some dialogue written up on screen as in those early silent movies.

This changes the whole approach to watching this film - thankfully my fellow audience members weren’t eating noisy popcorn or slurrping drinks.

The plot is as simple as they come - silent movie star Valentin sees his career and the trappings that come with it disappear as ‘talkies’ take a hold.

However, he has helped a young up and coming actress Peppy Miller (Bejo) who in turn keeps an eye out for her mentor.

But will Valentin’s pride allow him to be helped?

Another star of the film is Valentin’s constant companion, his dog, who produces a great performance.

With the lack of sound, the emphasis is firmly placed on the actors’ personalities and their ability to create a chemistry on screen.

Director Michael Hazanavicius gives them every opportunity and no-one lets him down.

It’s quite simply a delight - full of charm and oozing with class.

Steve Payne