Hugo – A Preview

Along with Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese is one of the few directors whose work I would go to any length to see. Though this doesn’t say much, as the Oscar-winning director of The Departed is responsible for some of the greatest films of all time in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. But when I started to do a little research on his latest film, Hugo, I became slightly confused and wondered if I was really passionate enough to see his latest outing.

You see Hugo, based on Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is actually a children’s movie. Not even in a “we’ll throw in a few jokes for adults, wink wink” kind of way. This really is a film for the whole family. Hugo follows a young orphan who, after the death of his father, is forced to live alone in the walls of a Parisian train station tending to the giant clocks. The only thing he has left in his life is a mystery surrounding an odd automaton his father left behind. Hugo features a stellar cast in Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone, Jude Law, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kick-Ass’ Chloë Grace Moretz and Asa Buttefield as Hugo.

Surprisingly enough, despite being a children’s film, this tale of an unlikely friendship that revels in the birth of cinema may well be Martin Scorsese’s most personal film to date. Hailing from Queens, New York, and raised a devout Catholic, violence and religion are usually prevalent in all of his films. Suffering from asthma as a child and not being able to partake in sports, the cinema became his passion. As you watch Hugo’s fascination with the moving image, you could well be looking at an incarnation of Martin Scorsese himself. Not to mention the defining factor in him choosing to make Hugo, was the fact that he wanted to make a movie that his 12-year-old daughter could actually see. So this film may not be a Casino or Mean Streets, but that’s not to say it’s any less personal to the great man himself, and this certainly shows on screen.

Hugo presents us with a magical world, and I never thought I would say this, but I urge you to go see the film in 3D. Unlike Clash of the Titans or Green Lantern, the 3D gives the film a real vibrancy and you constantly want to look at every part of the screen to soak in every image. This 1930s Paris is full of wondrous gadgets and giant contraptions, the production design and cinematography really are a sight to behold. I went into the film with one set of expectations, namely that I couldn’t see how Martin Scorsese could pull off a children’s film, but in much the same way as I felt when I finished watching Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s excellent Amelie, I didn’t want the film to end. I left the cinema invigorated and felt that everything was OK in the world. No matter how old or young you are, it will be an enjoyable watch.

Hugo will hit Korean screens on Feb. 16.

(First published in February’s issue of Groove Korea Magazine)

Categories: Film, Previews, Reviews


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