November 27, 2011
Review - " Hugo " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Grace
Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone, Emily
Mortimer, Christopher Lee
"Hugo" is a visually stunning film that is sure to charm
every member of the family. Based on the book "The
Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, director
Martin Scorsese ("The Departed," "Shutter Island")
surprises audiences with a cinematic experience that
diverts from the crime-drama genre he is known for.
Twelve-year old Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in a
Paris train station in the 1930s. His mother is dead and his
father (Jude Law) teaches him the mechanics of
machinery. He also introduces Hugo to his favorite
movies, those of French filmmaker Georges Méliès.
Hugo's father then tragically dies in a fire, and Hugo's
uncle, Claude Cabret (Ray Winstone), takes custody of
Hugo and teaches him his trade—maintaining the clocks
in the railway station. However, Claude's alcoholic
tendencies lead him to disappear. Hugo has to fend for
himself, scavenging for food in the busy terminal. He
works the clock during the day and sleeps in it at night,
causing trouble for Inspector Gustav (Sacha Baron
Cohen), though Hugo eludes capture.
Both Hugo’s father and uncle are expert watchmakers and
mechanics, and their talents have been passed down to
Hugo. The young Hugo devotes himself to fixing a
machine his father left behind, the automaton, a human-
like machine that is supposed to be able to write, which
Hugo believes has a message to him from his father. Hugo
steals the missing parts from locations around the train
station until he is caught by mean shop owner Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley). Hugo has a book full of wondrous sketches,
but these are taken away from him by the Scrooge-like old man who runs a little toy store in a quiet corner of the Gare
Montpamasse. Papa Georges' goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), befriends Hugo and decides to help him in his
restorative quest. As events unfold, they discover a surprising connection with each other and a grand discovery is made.
The cast of this film is amazing. Butterfield delivers a convincing and believable performance as an orphan who only wishes
to fulfill his father's dream in order to feel close to him again. His clear-eyed character elicits sympathy and support from the
audience, and his friendship with the innocent Isabelle is the driving force of the film. It would be hard to fail with the likes of
Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, and Chloe Grace Mortez. Throw in some Jude Law and Emily Mortimer
and you can see what I mean.
Scorsese weaves together his love
of film and his gift for storytelling,
giving "Hugo" depth and life.
Heartbreaking, funny, passionate
and impossibly beautiful, Scorsese's
Hugo is a must-see.