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Hugo - Film Review

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events.
Published February 8th 2012
Asa Butterfield in 'Hugo' (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

The excitingly creative and obsessive talent of Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, The Departed) is seen once again in his new 3-D movie Hugo. Scorsese explores his love of silent films and the history of cinema, which he inter-weaves with the story based on Brian Selznick's book The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Scorsese's family fantasy strictly adheres to the original story about lonely orphan, Hugo (Asa Butterfield), who lives in a complex network of passages in a Paris railway station. We see him winding up the clocks ensuring they maintain the correct time. He lives secretly alone in an apartment, which authorities have long forgotten exists, amongst a complex network of clocks, gears, cogs and pulleys. Hugo is repairing an automation, which his late father, a clockmaker, (Jude Law) found and was himself repairing. This automation remains a very important and emotional link to his father and is all that remains of their happy past together.

Hugo repairs the automation with salvaged parts, of which some are stolen. He is caught by a store owner, George Melies (Ben Kingsley) who is the connection to the famous early filmmakers, who are a passion and inspiration of Scorsese. In 1902, Melies created 16-minute science-fiction fantasy film entitled A Trip to the Moon which along with excerpts from some of his other films becomes an essential part of the story. Hugo along with a newly discovered friend Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), embark on an adventure of discovery into the origins and the making of early moving pictures.

There are several supporting characters that Hugo observes secretly from behind a clock in the railway station. Their lives provide depth, character, drama, romance and humour which clearly shines through. They include the woman (Frances de la Tour) with her vicious dachshund and her admirer (Richard Griffiths), Django Reinhardt (Emil Lager) and his street band, the friendly flower vendor (Emily Mortimer) and her relationship with the menacing war injured station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen). All the characters in Hugo are beautifully portrayed.

What is clearly evident is the beautiful and stunning 3-D photography which is sheer joy to experience; from the opening scenes of the happenings in the railway station, the winding and climbing around the intricate network of clocks, the people fleeing in panic as the train arrives at the station and Hugo fearing being put in an orphanage, flees from the station inspector and hides by dangling outside the clocktower clutching the clock hand. There are some wonderful re-creations of cinematic history by Scorsese which are combined with the high quality 3-D cinematic imagination, placing Hugo in another dimension.

***** out of *****
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Why? Must see: Fantastic entertainment & acting, great 3-D photography. The whole family will love it.
When: Now Showing
Where: In a cinema near you
Cost: Check with local cinema
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