THE ARTIST—Directed by Michel Hazanavicius/Starring Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo. 1hr40min/PG-13
Bifocal Reviews by Barbara and Gordon Rich
(B) I think it is wonderful for us to have developed movie making techniques over the past 100 years, only to now decide that if we eliminate some of the most important aspects of the progress we’ve made (good writing, a compelling story, clever dialogue, color, and sound, for examples) that we can come up with a product that is worthy of an Academy Award. I get the nostalgia, but multiple Oscar nominations? Come on! It’s like going outside to pump water from a well, when you have a perfectly good sink with a faucet on the inside of the house…and then giving a series of awards to the guy who thought that it’d be a nice idea to dig a hole out back and hang a bucket on it. I’ll get this movie one binocular, for the dog and the costumes.
(G) I admit that I was opposed to seeing this film from the moment that I heard about it. I could see, before I ever walked into the theater, that this was going to be a stinker and that I was going to have to stand, once again proclaiming why the Emperor has no clothes. Shades of Hurt Locker, once again! I hate it when I’m right, especially when I have to pay $11 and 2 ½ hour of my life for the privilege. This whole movie was nothing more than a conceit, a series of prat-falls, gags, bits, mugs the likes of which we find on every second rate sitcom that has ever been on television, sound or no sound. The Artist is completely empty of real depth, meaning or purpose. I know that Hollywood is looking at this and salivating because they are going to be able to promote their beloved town in an Academy Award winner, but I have to ask, as always…is that enough? What do the Oscars really mean when the movie industry is the only entity that believes this film is worthwhile? When we went into the theater, there were maybe 12 people. I could not stand it after the first 30 minutes and left the theater to try and find another film on the Best Picture list. That was fruitless, but took about 20 minutes of my time. I reluctantly returned to my seat, where Barbara instantly told me, “You haven’t missed anything.” We stuck with it to the end, because…well, that’s kind of our job.
They keep promoting the dog as some incredibly clever filmmaking genius, but the dog is not even nominated for anything! This movie also asserts that silence is somehow more powerful than words. I’m going to give this film what it is dishing out to the public and say that my evaluation (my binoculars), the trailer and all of my most enlightened review lines are the ones that are NOT appearing below…