As Scorsese’s first feature film release in five years Hugo is an excellent film telling the story of the loss and gain of family as seen through the eyes of two children. While that side of the story is interesting, the true story comes when it tells the backstory of George Melies, the french filmmaker who wildly successful until his ultimate failure which is where the story begins.
Hugo follows the story of a young orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who lives in a train station where he keeps the clocks running and on time. This train station is full of interesting characters who allow the story to be progressed forward, and these characters include the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), Isabella (Chloe Grace Moretz), George’s goddaughter, and George (Ben Kingsley) who runs the toy booth.
The beginning of the film tells the backstory of Hugo which is told through a series of flashbacks that show him with his father (Jude Law) while he was still alive. The backstory of his father is that he discovered a automaton that he thought had a secret message and when he died Hugo took on the role of completing it. He had it all fixed except one heart shaped key which is how we are introduced to the next big character Isabella. After going on a little adventure with Isabella, her and Hugo discover a lot of hidden information regarding George which is when they find out about his being a filmmaker. From there the film gets purely fascinating and I will not go into detail about it.
Backed by the directing talents of Martin Scorsese, Hugo is well-crafted with great characters and excellent sequences. One of the most surprisingly good elements of the film is the acting done by both the adult and child actors. If you are to mention acting in this film you must start out with Ben Kingsley and his great portrayal as the failed filmmaker. His facial expressions throughout the film had the perfect mixtures of both regret and frustration, and this is a perfect example of how fantastic an actor he is. As for the child actors they also did a good job for the roles they played, and those roles didn’t require much emotion but they did a good job none-the-less. Finally, Sacha Baron Cohen was good as the comic, yet sad, character within the film whose misguided hate had stopped him from getting what he had wanted.
Solid film with a great performance by Ben Kingsley and a cinematic excellence that could only come from the mind of Martin Socrsese.