a review by Caitlin Murphy
In one of the film’s most striking scenes, and brilliant uses of its own conceit, George is suddenly able to hear sounds – as are we. He puts down his glass, and is shocked by the thud it makes hitting the table. He repeats the gesture, unable to comprehend it, and is quickly overwhelmed by the cacophony of noises around him – the telephone ringing, his dog barking, the chatter outside – but he is unable to make any sound himself. He screams, or tries to, in horror into the mirror. It’s a harrowing metaphor for the brave new world, and its paralyzed old inhabitant, and created an eerily familiar feeling in this viewer. In another brilliant sequence in which Peppy and George’s relationship first forms, we see them go through several takes of a scene where he is to bump into her and they briefly dance together. Each take becomes more intimate, joyful, indulgent, as we get to delight in how much of life is repetition, discovery and re-discovery, the gradual deepening of what we already suspect. Needless to say, on top of everything else it accomplishes, The Artist is a love letter to its medium.