Michael Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” is pretty much a non-stop sequence of witty, magical moments; an homage to, rather than a pastiche of vintage cinematic story-telling. With a narrative shamelessly borrowed from “Singing In The Rain” and “A Star In Born”, it is (mostly) without dialogue, but far from silent; the sound design is ingenious, and the score, by Ludovic Bource (and others) is wonderfully evocative. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo as the falling and rising stars of old Hollywood are effortlessly charming, and John Goodman’s gift for visual comedy is well exploited; although Penelope Anne Miller, as the brittle wife of Dujardin’s character, is sadly under-used. The film surely deserves all the awards coming to it, although it falls short of true greatness because it doesn’t plumb the emotional depths of the classics of the vintage era, such as Chaplin’s “The Kid” and “City Lights”. It wears its cleverness in a highly entertaining manner, though – and is almost worth seeing for Uggie the dog alone.
This is “26 Beers” - my own attempt at “silent” filmmaking.