29 December 2011

Review: The Artist

Genre: Comedy

Writer and director Michel Hazanavicius presents polished work in his The Artist. Though his story and dramatic device are somewhat contrived (in a way that calls to mind the similar method of contrivance in The Reader [2008]), his ability to shape his narrative into a charming film, particularly one so dependent on nonverbal storytelling, is clear and strong. Jean Dujardin, as the eponymous character of the film, delivers through his director's ability a key performance, unlocking the depth and emotional resonance of the narrative that otherwise would have remained closed in the lesser acting of another. Beautiful make-up and, most important, an exemplary score round the portrait of a man in conflict with himself, to make a tale akin to the Beauty and the Beast tale in both content and effect. With greater depth only in the conflict itself could this self-assured, concerted film have improved on its comedic drama.

Grade: A-

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