November 28, 2011

Hugo - 2011

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: John Logan
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace-Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, Christopher Lee, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jude Law

Hugo (Butterfield) is an orphan living in a train station, continuing the Herculean task of his late father (Law): reconstructing a mysterious automaton. When he meets Isabel (Grace-Moretz), a young girl who somehow has a key to the strange device, the two discover a long-buried secret about her godfather (Kingsley).

I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider Hugo to be a brilliant piece of cinema. Virtually anything Scorsese goes to work on ends up great; while Shutter Island wasn't one of my favorites, it was still far from terrible. The cast he cobbled together is nothing short of wonderful. Between this and Kick-Ass, Grace-Moretz has proven her worth double that of some actresses twice her age. Butterfield, who had his breakout role in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, also shows he's more than your standard child star. Kingsley is tremendous as always, and Cohen is as enjoyable as he was in Sweeney Todd, another script by Logan, rather than his usually intolerable roles in his own pictures. The story is straightforward enough to be enjoyed by all ages, which aids in Scorsese's debut in the realm of non-adult fare. Unfortunately, I think that the reports of Scorsese's skill with the 3D have been greatly exaggerated, despite his great attempt to replicate the response early audiences had when first seeing Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat. The third act plays out more as Scorsese's love letter to the old films moreso than one the audience at large might identify with, and film buffs may enjoy the latter half more than the average moviegoer, but Hugo is a triumph nonetheless. A

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