Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: John Logan, Brian Selznick (book)
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz and Christopher Lee
In the opening of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, we fly over 1930’s Paris – an intricate and lively city, bursting with life, lights and even a little bit of magic. As we descend upon a train station, spying on the strange and wonderful characters that are to be found in such an ordinary location, our views are aligned with the ever-watchful eyes of Hugo – a young orphan who runs the clocks in the train station with a secret mission he is determined to achieve in loving memory of his father. But once we’ve weaved through the magical cogs of Hugo’s home, the film feeds us a rather tedious and un-magical route to the answers – even if the answers themselves are what save the movie from being a complete cheeseball.
Hugo is unlike any Martin Scorsese film. For one thing, it is aimed at children and film scholars alike as it embraces ideas of magic, filmmaking and cinematic spectatorship in one neat snow-falling dome. But with too much dialogue that is uncreative in its treatment of character and such a fantastic combination of reality and fiction, Hugo falls short of being both compelling and thoughtful in equal measure. Instead, it saves the best for last with a satisfying turn of events that are best kept under wraps.
Leaving the audience with a warm and fuzzy feeling, and a climax that did pick up steam towards the end, Hugo is a family film that attempts to involve children, film enthusiasts and everything in between. While it may not have the action-packed fantasy that its visuals seem to promise in the opening sequence, the end delivers something even better.