The Artist Blu-ray Review
Many a time in my life I have thought that as a moviegoer I was born in the wrong decade. Though I love all the technology the 21st century has contributed to film, there was something special about the films in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and the people who watched them. Back then going to a movie was a huge deal and was considered a major event. Concessions weren’t sold and viewers sat in rapt attention taking in every action on screen. Now we are lucky to go to a theater to see a film where a cell phone doesn’t ring, huge meals aren’t being consumed and even kids running around the theater because parents can’t keep them under control. Back in the day popcorn wasn’t even sold because it was too disturbing (though that can be the case now too, see the Latvian Popcorn Incident) for surrounding viewers. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed THE ARTIST so much, because it’s a mix of what I love about movies now and what I would have enjoyed about cinema then.
It’s the silent film era and George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is one of the brightest stars on screen. On top of his game he is nice enough to give an aspiring actress, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), a little help in her career. Unfortunately for George and his adorable dog silent films are being pushed out by the ever popular talkies, a genre in which Peppy Miller is a huge success. A troublesome downfall in his career and personal life put George and Peppy back in each other’s paths and somehow they find a way to make their careers and relationship work out.
THE ARTIST is a beautifully shot film that is as charming as it is captivating was only made possible by the outstanding performances of Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. To be successful in silent films the actor had to be expressive, handsome and completely mesmerizing to watch on screen. Dujardin pulled that off without looking cheesy in the slightest, which really must be a tough thing to do. Lack of dialogue would inevitably leave Hollywood with about 30 decent actors, and Dujardin would be king of them all. Bérénice Bejo also did an amazing job as the female lead and her short scene in George Valenin’s dressing room will be one of the great movie moments of all time. These two talents were the reason THE ARTIST was such a success and the film wouldn’t be even close to fantastic were it not for them.
THE ARTIST is really one of those films that I could go on and on about how great it was, but it’s one of those films that you’ll just have to sit down and watch to fully appreciate. It was a risky thing to release a silent, black and white film in 2011 and I’ll admit that I myself was a little skeptical until I watched it. I was ecstatic when it won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and it was one of those films that makes me proud to be a movie fan. I only hope we’ll see more daring cinema in the future.
Audio: Well, there’s no dialogue but all the sounds and musical sequences were clean and perfect to listen to.
Video: A beautiful film where the blacks and whites are clear and crisp, exactly what a black and white silent film should look like.
Blooper Reel (2:14): This is a silent movie blooper reel that’s set to some period music.
The Artist: The Making of an American Romance (21:56): Your typical making of featurette that features the cast and crew talking about the film, learning the dance moves and discussing the films of the 20’s and 30’s. This was quite interesting and worth watching for those fans of the film or era.
Q&A with the Filmmakers and Cast (44:57): Basic question and answer session with major players in the film.
Hollywood as a Character: The Locations of The Artist (5:10): I thought this was a nice and interesting little piece although if you watch the making of featurette you can skip this one.
The Artisans Behind The Artist (11:28): A four part featurette that discusses production design, cinematography, costumes and the composer.
UV Digital Copy