Very dull for a caliber of Scorsese, this movie is only half as good as it has been advertised.
I didn’t want to write a review about this movie. Not because I didn’t like it, or because I hate everything French, or because film is bad. I just didn’t want to. But unlike everyone else, I felt like I should. Just because someone else would like to know my precious little opinion on this film feature by Martin Scorsese and might find it eventually useful. So here it comes.
First of all, there’s something you should know about Martin Scorsese and his recent movies. Having spent last 40 years trying to get his well deserved but oh so missed Oscar, he worked entirely on the movies that concentrated on pulling out the ecstatic tear out of the eyes of every single Academy member. And whether he achieved this he was always denied Oscar, either by chance or by a better movies. In some essence, this fact forced him to work more and more on his films, eventually making him create some incredible masterpieces on his way. But when finally he got his Oscar (for The Departed), I think, what happened is he just gave up all those ambitious crazy Oscar-bearing dramas and shifted his thoughts to old projects he has been sacrificing all this years. Same was with Shutter Island – some kind of horror/thriller, which in my opinion was just blah. And now we have “Hugo”.
Film tells a story of a little orphan named Hugo (yes! you found it!). His late father has been a clock master, and from him Hugo inherited his talent of fixing stuff. Unfortunately, what he does now is living in the central train station in Paris, where he secretly takes care of all the clocks, steals food from local pastry shop, and “borrows” parts from toy store to fix the only thing left from his father – metallic broken automoton. This automoton, he believes carries last message from his father, and is the only object that Hugo can relate in this world. Well, up until he gets caught by toy store owner (Ben Kingsley), and gets to know him and his granddaughter, with whom he embarks on an incredible journey to uncover past.
Hugo is played by a newcomer – young Asa Butterfield. He plays surprisingly well, his performance includes looking “orphanish” with tears in his big endless blue eyes and magic smile. I really would like to concentrate on the supporting cast, which in my opinion was just spectacular.
Sir Ben Kingsley plays toy store owner Georges Melies, and this is probably the best old man impression I have seen in recent years. Probably who don’t know Sir Kingsley, might think that this is how he actually is, but believe me this is the first time he actually does play a poor old man. And he does it with such a spectacular approach that you really fall for it.
Another notable performance lays on Sacha Baron Cohen. Known for the immortal roles as Ali G (not A, not B, C, D, E or F), Borat, and Bruno, he proves what I’ve been suspecting long time ago. There’s much more to his acting abilities that he shows on the screen. He plays Station Inspector, whose sole purpose is maintaining a solid control on the grounds of the train station. Nothing passes his sharp eyes and ears. And there’s only 2 things that can stop him – his long injured leg and flower girl Lisette.
Overall I have bipolar feelings about directing. Yes, the movie is shot in 3D, and watching it in regular 2D is probably the worst thing you can do. Its probably one of the best movie shot in 3D. So technically I do applaud the elaborate sets and impressive CGI. What I disliked was really long introduction, that lasted nearly an hour for some kind of action or progression of storyline to start. And then there’s this little creepy automoton, who is nothing more just a metallic toy resembling that crazy robot from “I, Robot” and all you expect is that creepy thing to look suddenly into the camera, grab a big butcher knife and start “Paris Chainsaw Massacre” of some kind. But no, Scorsese has some different plans.
And believe me when I say – you know how this movie will end, you have seen a thousand like this one before. I’m giving it 5/10.
PS: My brother (who disliked this movie more than I did) is betting this film will get at least 5 Oscars this season. I somehow agree with him.