“Hugo” is a brilliant movie to begin with, but not without its two stars, 14 year old Asa Butterfield (“The Boy With The Striped Pajamas”) and Chloe Moretz (“Let Me In”). At first glance, the man who directed such masterpieces as “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas” might seem like an unlikely candidate to direct a family film. Think again. Film history is part of Martin Scorsese’s genes. And his love of films is what makes “Hugo” such an awe-inspiring tale. From the first frame to the last, Scorsese proves that he’s still one of the best directors of all time, making a movie he cares about so passionately. The story, written by John Logan and based on a Carnegie prize-winning novel by Brian Selznick (cousin of Hollywood legend David O. Sleznick), is mainly a child’s adventure about a young orphan called Hugo (Asa Butterfield) struggling to survive within a Parisian railway station, where he’s been dragged as child labour by his alcoholic uncle (Ray Winstone) after the death of his dad (Jude Law in a terrific cameo appearance). Hugo steals in order to survive, which brings him into conflict with one of the station’s stallholders, bad-tempered toymaker Georges ( the great Ben Kingsley). Hugo also manages to make friends with Georges’ orphaned niece, played by Chloe Moretz. Mysteriously, she has a heart-shaped key that matches an automaton Hugo inherited from his father. How is it possible? To answer this question, you’ll have to watch the film. Suffice to say that the key is only the first piece in a much larger mystery, one that involves a long lost filmmaker (hint: “Le Voyage Dans La Lune”).
Hey, “Hugo” might seem like just another kids movie. But once the amazing automaton is complete, and most of the mysteries revealed, it became quite clear what drew Scorsese to this film. Let me be clear: “Hugo” is not a kids movie. “Hugo” is a film for movie lovers made by someone who loves and appreciates movies. Scorsese is a master filmmaker, but he’s also a huge movie aficionado. And in “Hugo”, we get a celebration of the early era of cinema, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. It is this joy of discovering the magic of cinema that elevates “Hugo” as one of Scorsese’s most beautifully crafted films. It’s one of those movie experiences I’m bound to remember for a long time. Come and dream with “Hugo”.