The Artist – a rambling kind of film review

I’ve finally been to see The Artist at the cinema this evening. I read about it months ago in a copy of Empire at the hairdressers’ (the hairdresser being my brother). I am very thorough in working my way through the magazines when I go to the hairdressers’, I start with the film magazines, then travel, then fashion, and if I’m really quick off the mark I manage to get to the cooking magazines before Phil’s hair is cut and it’s time to leave. I’ll have to convince Phil he really needs to grow his hair long and have it dyed to give me more reading time, but I can’t see it happening…

Anyway, having awaited the release of the movie  in the UK for months (due to the intriguing premise of a new b&w, silent movie), I then had to wait to see which cinemas in Birmingham would actually be screening it. We do have a couple of cinemas which screen films which don’t get a mainstream release (the MAC and the Electric, which also happens to be the oldest working cinema in the UK), however as it happened one of the chain cinemas was showing it first & I couldn’t wait so decided to go there. The trip to the cinema was supposed to be a bit of a family outing, however, my brother was involved in a car accident this evening (no damage done to him, quite a bit to the car) so it was just me, Phil and my Nan in the end.

It was like watching a lovely old film you’d never discovered before. Except, of course, it wasn’t quite like any old film, more a homage to it – a little bit of the silent era, and the early talkies and the musicals, and totally aware of it too. For a (almost) silent movie it made brilliant use of sound & it looked stunning. Plus it’s surely the best silent movie since Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie!

With the Prime Minister today making the meaningless comment that UK film makers should produce more blockbusters, it was satisfying to watch a movie which is both brilliant and a commercial success which no one would ever have commissioned (silent, b&W) if their only intention was to make money at the box office.

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