The Artist

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 16 Dec 2011
Film title: The Artist
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller
Release date: 30 Dec
Certificate: PG

It's hard to imagine more of a guaranteed crowdpleaser than The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius' stupendously entertaining homage to silent cinema, which is likely to have audiences tap-dancing in the aisles. Re-teaming with his OSS:117 star Jean Dujardin (a wonderfully deft and charming performance) Hazanavicius tells the tale of movie star George Valentin, whose career hits the skids as the talkies come in, while a young starlet (Bérénice Bejo) moves in the opposite direction. If The Artist does make a misjudgement then it's probably the length of time devoted to Valentin's fall from grace, as the film's tone of winking pastiche doesn't allow for the emotional depth this long sequence requires. But if Hazanavicius briefly missteps, the cast never does, with the entire ensemble (both human and canine) turning in effervescent, perfectly pitched performances. Gloriously inventive touches abound, with the few instances of sound being particularly well utilised, and the whole picture is carried off with a sense of joie de vivre that is utterly disarming. [Philip Concannon]

The Artist is released 30 Dec by Entertainment Film