And now we know why Jean Dujardin was Oscar-nominated for Best Actor this year in The Artist. He lights up the entire screen, his eyes have soul and they speak volumes in this silent movie.
Bagging a plethora of awards, and also nominated Best Picture in this year's Oscars, The Artist is Michel Hazanavicius's novelty movie that critics are raving about. If you think you'd be bored watching a black and white silent movie, still take a shot at The Artist. It's actually engaging-- thanks to a fairly absorbing screenplay, Dujardin's emotion-filled eyes and dazzling smile lighting up the screen and mesmerizing you, and the musical score that translates the actors's emotions and speaks for them.
In the movie, it's 1927 and George Valentin (Dujardin) is a famous silent movie actor. Then he meets and becomes enchanted with a movie extra/dancer Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) who is trying to make a break in Hollywood. Then, the advent of the talkies soon arrives, and George refuses to join the trend-- whereas Peppy embraces the New Cinema and is skyrocketed into stardom.
The Artist will sustain your attention until the ending and engage you in its cute story, which is a triumph, of course. Bejo as Peppy Miller complements Dujardin, yes, but there's something a bit modern about her look and performance, which feels a bit unsettling. And I wish she looked prettier, too. Valentin's dog (he could be the same talented dog in The Beginners) is charming and a delight to watch, adding more entertainment value to the silent movie.
But no matter how absorbing The Artist is, and how brilliant Dujardin is, the movie is still overrated. Nice but not excellent. Entertaining enough but not impressive. The film treatment clever and unique in this day and age, but the story so-so. The tribute to the history and evolution of cinema is a good basis for a story, but not thrillingly fun to watch in this movie.
The Artist, which I predict would win Oscar Best Picture, hooked me until the end credits, and is actually a pretty good film that should still be watched in the line up of Oscar nominees. However, it did not make me stand up and applaud along with the 97% of film critics over at rottentomatoes.com.
It's Dujardin that I applaud.
2.75 out of 5 stars