Liam Madden’s Film Reviews: Hugo

Liam reviews Martin Scorsese’s Hugo available on DVD at Ventnor Library

hugo-filmgrab

If you fancy a night in watching a DVD, then take a look at the selection available at Island Libraries. At just £1.50 per night, they’re a great bargain. Ed


Sometimes a director of total genius directs a film that is clearly understood. The intention of ‘Hugo’ the film and the character seems to be that which some audiences love about the movies; total and utter schmaltz.

Yet there is something appealing about the technical genius of the production and its similarity in richness to a Powell / Presberger picture. There is marginally less to appeal than a tub of margarine if the truth were told.

Smug and complacent
With the setting of a deserved Oscar Winner for its excellent cinematography and lushness of scenes, the world of ‘Hugo’ seems worrying at times in its smugness and complacency.

In fact you might be surprised that it is presented as a Martin Scorsese Picture and not a Spielberg Picture, so massive is its beauty.

It’s so obviously not a bad film, but it’s setting can be a bit too rich for the eyes at times, although Mums around the world will perhaps sigh with relief at the lack of violence compared to such films as ‘Taxi-Driver’ or even ‘Goodfellas’.

Un-offensive and sweet
‘Hugo’ is about as un-offensive and sweet as a movie can get and its portrayal of characters as bad are all explained eventually. Yet it’s as far removed from a typical Scorsese film as you can possibly get and perhaps that is the point.

Maybe Scorcese needed to prove to an audience that he’s really a humane director after all. Perhaps the work he is most noted for became a financial dilemma. Who knows?

Somehow, ‘Hugo’ is lush and beautiful in much the same way as ‘The Red Shoes’ and it is good that he demonstrates a good heart throughout as being so important.

Contradictory film
Yet, it’s akin to watching a film that almost would demonstrate that when Scorsese is allowed to cause controversy, his films become extremely important and ‘Hugo’ can be somewhat contradictory as it manages to cause partial offence by being so sweet and twee.

To be honest, it is a surprisingly dull film and even ‘Star Wars’ was a ‘U’ certificate film and never this boring. If you want to gain a young audience’s trust then the question remains why Scorsese did not make this film a long time ago?

Five Oscars
Perhaps the timing was that he had never ventured towards the Oscars with so much drive? ‘Hugo’ won five Oscars and that’s usually enough to clear some audiences into wonder. Yet it is a truly inoffensive piece of work and so dream-like, that perhaps, like ‘The Age of Innocence’ you could wake-up curious if you’ve seen a film at all within it.

It could be noted that Martin Scorsese has never been a predictable film director and perhaps he was tired of being renowned for his earlier work, but ‘Hugo’ should be avoided by anyone who thinks it will be a classic.

It merely seems to be a film of a cleaned up variety and appealing for a wider audience and the production level is high and excellent and a total opposite to anything he has achieved before, but it is a film that pays homage to romantic cinema and sadly it’s just not as interesting as a result. Everything else he has directed is more worthy of attention.

Saturday, 17th November, 2012 10:22am

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