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Hugo

Hugo

By Patrick Samuel • April 5th, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
HUGO (Blu-ray)
EV

Release date: April 2nd, 2012
Certificate (UK): U
Running time: 126 minutes

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: John Logan
Composer: Howard Shore

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Moretz, Jude Law, Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Sacha Baron Cohen

We’ve always known Martin Scorsese to be, not only one of the world’s most gifted filmmakers, but also someone who is deeply passionate about cinema, it’s earliest days and its future development. It should come as no surprise then that he would choose to make a film like Hugo. Yet the surprise was as inevitable as the delight that came with seeing it.

Based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, the film is set in 1931, which is where we meet 12-year-old Hugo (Asa Butterfield). He lives in Paris Montparnasse train station where he keeps himself hidden as he tends to the clocks.

Hugo

Gradually we come to learn that Hugo is an orphan, but before his father (Jude Law) died they began to repair a broken automaton that he found while working in a museum. As no one seemed to want it, he brought it home, much to Hugo’s pleasure.

As Hugo goes about his day keeping the clocks running, he tries to stay out of Inspector Gustave’s (Sacha Baron Cohen) way, for fear he might be taken to an orphanage. He also steals whatever food he can find, and any parts that might help him repair the automaton, but when he’s caught by a very mean toyshop owner (Ben Kingsley), he takes away something he cherishes, his father’s notebook with his sketches of how to repair the automaton. The toy shop owner threatens to burn it and scolds Hugo harshly for stealing from his shop.

Hugo

Determined to get it back, Hugo eventually takes on an additional job but remains worried that he’ll never get the automaton to work. He ends up making friends with Isabelle (Chloë Moretz) and together they realise who the toy shop owner really is, as well as his connection to the automaton.

Hugo comes to find his purpose in life when he sees that he’s meant to fix not only the automaton, but also repair the broken spirit of this gifted toymaker who gave the world so much.

Through its impressive visuals and a story that slowly works its magic, Hugo is a film I was left impressed and very moved by. As someone who also loves the early days of cinema, it’s impossible not to see it as Scorsese’s love letter to the art form and a heartfelt tribute to Georges Méliès.

Hugo

Along the way he also pays homage to some of the landmark films that came from early 20th century including of course Méliès’ Le voyage dans la lune (1902), Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903) and the Lumière brothers’ Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1895).

I simply can’t think of any other filmmaker who would have been more fitting to make this film than Scorsese. We might know him from works such as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), and Goodfellas (1990) and while Hugo seems like a departure, it shares one important trait with those films… a filmmaker who is truly in love with cinema as an art form.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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