Friday, January 6, 2012
Hugo is arguably Martin Scorsese's finest release since Goodfellas. It's also not as unlikely a choice for him as people say, considering that its subject is something so close to his overall obsession with this medium. Any Scorsese devotee knows that the films he cherishes most are the ones he saw in his youth, thus creating the connection of childhood and cinema and the spell the two have on each other. The character Hugo's experiences with movies probably mirrored Scorsese's own childhood. And then one of the central themes of the movie, the preservation of film, (wisely left out of the advertisements) is Scorsese's greatest interest next to filmmaking. In a way, Hugo feels like the culmination of memories and a life's work for Scorsese, a fitting capstone to a career if he chose to suddenly retire. No movie has felt more alive this year, with Scorsese operating on a rich canvas where there is always something interesting happening. Yet what I personally admired about it was that there's so much going on all the time, yet there's not much of a plot to keep the viewer engaged. We don't find this type of cinema much anymore. It seems to be a requisite for a movie to always keep the story front and center. Yet Scorsese opts for something more challenging, and to no surprise the result is more rewarding. With Hugo, Scorsese has made the type of movie he would fall in love with as a kid. May there be enough open young minds today for same effect to occur and take its shape.