Hugo (2011)

Hugo (2011) – So as the almost-400 movie reviews written by yours truly available on this site might indicate, I am a bit of a film nut. More than a nut. An enthusiast. An addict. I am in love with the magic of the movies, and let me assure you movies ARE magic. Martin Scorsese is a man who understands this. If several decades of expert film-making weren’t enough to convince you of that, his new film Hugo should be. The man behind Taxi Driver and Goodfellas might not be the first person you’d think of to make a family film, but once you’ve seen it it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone else could have made it (except possibly Jean-Pierre Jeunet). Hugo is a love letter, written by an artist to his art.

Based on Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the movie is about a young boy named Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) who lives in a train station after his father (Jude Law) dies and his uncle (Ray Winstone) vanishes. He spends his time living in the walls, keeping the clocks wound, and stealing what he needs to get by while ducking the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen). He runs afoul of one shopkeeper in particular, played by Sir Ben Kingsley. He befriends the shopkeepers’ ward (Chloë Grace Moretz). Hugo is trying to fix a mechanical man that his father discovered before his death and learns that it might be connected to the shopkeeper. The station is populated with other interesting characters played by reliable actors like Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, and Emily Mortimer.

I don’t really want to say too much regarding the plot beyond that, but the movie explores silent film paying homage to the works of Harold Lloyd and Georges Méliès. The film is shot by Robert Richardson and the sets are by the great Academy Award winner Dante Ferretti  so the film is absolutely beautiful to look at. The 3D work is great. I’ve often said that 3D is an unfairly-maligned tool that works in the right hands. Scorsese is man who knows how to use the right tools the right way and 3D is no exception. In many ways, Hugo is so completely unlike any other movie Martin Scorsese has ever made but it somehow just feels like a perfect fit for him. It’s a movie I found very entertaining and moving at the same time. I highly recommend watching it.

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