Hugo [2011] ★★★½

“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”.

Rating: 3.5/4

10 replies »

  1. My [unpublished] review 😛
    Are film enthusiasts looking for something special this holiday? Then Scorsese is your Santa, and “Hugo” is your present. To those [me included] who have forgot what “movie magic” means, I say watch Hugo. The movie will catch your imagination, from its brilliant opening sequences, to its characters, to the story and to its sensational conclusion. This is the movie we’ve been waiting for. Scorsese’s first 3D movie is certainly his most personal movie to date; you can feel his passion throughout the scenes, his deep love for movies is so clear on screen. I’m not talking about the wonderful tributes he made; I’m talking about how careful he was in shooting this Film, how careful he was with his camera: every single shot is incredibly beautiful and worth having it on your wall. So as I mentioned, the camera work was incredible, the way it moved, the angles, the wide shots and the close ups were pure perfection…why? Because Scorsese cared about his characters so much that their facial expressions and body language dominate the screen even in heavily rendered wideshots and this why the man is a genius filmmaker. He doesn’t want to deceive the viewers with the visuals like 90% of today’s filmmakers; he knows that the key to keep a story moving for more than 2 hours is to focus on the characters and how they progress. Well done Mr.Scorsese. The second part of the movie was pure magic. The library scene is a cinephile’s wet dream! (Sorry it is!) Scorsese have, passionately,cut,pasted,blended,mixed..(Cooked?) Real old footage with new ones and created a story that becomes not only entertaining but educational and inspiring as well. I want to say more, but then I’ll spoil it! Thank you Martin Scorsese!

  2. They sneaked into a movie theatre…they watched “safety last”…they talked about how magical movies are and they later go into a library and you know… I couldn’t ask for more. I’m watching it again for sure..! Merry Xmas Anis! =)

  3. An interesting book, and an interesting film, but not for kids. Unless you are pursuing a Masters degree at UCLA or NYU, the plot is unintersting to the general public. That being said, the overall excellence and beauty of the film is top-quality. If Scorsese had chosen a better plot, he would have won the Best Picture Oscar.

    • Definitely not for kids. It’s a movie for movie buffs as well (not only Masters students). The experience was out of this world. I couldn’t ask for a better film from a master director.

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