Film Review – Hugo by Martin Scorsese


Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese, is a remarkable movie set in 1930s Paris. An innocent orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his father, who unfortunately passed away, and an automaton. The genres of this movie are mystery, adventure, drama and historical fiction. This movie is based on an illustrated kid’s book by Brian Selznick’s, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”. The book goes into more detail than the film, which features many phenomenal and detailed sketches of every scene. Hugo is also a family film that gives people the opportunity to explore into the history of when movies and cinema itself were started and created. The film respectively shows the history and significance of movies, and the shared memories of an audience, for the people who really appreciate and love film.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Martin Scorsese has made many critically-acclaimed movies, although Hugo is unlike any other film he has ever made. Hugo is a very unique movie and is possibly the closest to Scorsese’s heart, it also shows a mirror reflection of his own life, bringing back memories. Hugo, involves many professional actors to create characters to have different personalities and suspicious mysteries in their histories and backgrounds.

The main character is, well, obviously Hugo, played by Asa Butterfield, who is very sneaky but innocent. He is quite a smart young boy, having abilities/skills in fixing objects and making the clocks work, by teaching himself. You’ll often spot Hugo in a rush trying to make it on time to control the clock-work inside the train station. Hugo’s father, played by Jude Law, unfortunately passed away in an incident leaving Hugo with his uncle, played by Ray Winstone, to help run the clocks in the awfully loud train station. Before Hugo’s father died they were trying to fix an automaton his father received from the museum, although he dies with it unperfected. With notebooks his father left him, Hugo is on a mission to fulfil his father’s dream to complete the automaton. Throughout the movie, Hugo starts an interesting adventure to complete the unfinished puzzle which reveals a breath-taking secret.

Hugo’s life in the train station gets complicated by having a grumpy toy shop owner named Georges Melies, played by Ben Kingsley. Georges is a very suspicious man, being very quiet and mean, usually picking on Hugo. Later on, Hugo meets George’s niece named Isabelle, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. She’s a book smart girl wanting to go on adventures. Hugo makes a hard decision in sharing his secret with Isabelle. With her help, Hugo attempts to repair the automaton on his own by stealing parts from the toy maker Georges. Trying to feed himself is really hard since he’s poor. To prevent starvation he feeds himself with croissants snatched from station shops and also begins to sneak off to the movies. It gets even more difficult for Hugo while he tries avoiding the station inspector. Hugo has his good and bad times, but when it comes to the station inspector taking him away to the orphanage this becomes a really big problem for Hugo.

The automaton turns out to be a piece of history from the past that’s designed to write a message. Hugo won’t be able to reveal the message until the automaton is fully repaired and working. Hugo finally reaches the one and only piece that completes the automaton. Where does Hugo discover the missing piece? Once Hugo starts up the automaton it has the ability to draw, leaving behind a drawing with a big secret about Isabelle’s family.

Isabelle also lives in Paris and takes Hugo to her house to meet her aunty Mama Jeanne, played by Helen McCrory, in which she tells Hugo many memories of when she was younger as an actor. The film Hugo also shows how and when the film was first started in which movie lovers would enjoy these scenes to experience some history about cinema.                   

This film would not have been as good if Scorsese hadn’t worked creatively with film techniques. At the start of the movie Scorsese directs the recreation of Paris with the help of CGI (computer generated imagery) to show how beautiful Paris is. The film uses different soundtrack techniques to make the movie more intense. Also throughout the movie there are traditional French music being played in the background which make the movie seem relaxing. The lighting used in Hugo is used to emphasize important aspects, such as the sun in some scenes acts as the back lighting. The angle shots used throughout the movie are amazing as it portrays important messages. An example is on the opening scene when bird’s eye view shot is used to show Paris, also at the beginning there is a close up shot of Hugo’s eye looking into the number 5 in a clock. Film techniques are used to accentuate the plot of the story and help giving the movie meaning by leaving a message to the audience.

The film is one that should be seen by many. The movie directed by Martin Scorsese is intense, adventurous and full of love about cinema. Scorsese intended the movie to be for children, although it’s also suitable for people who believe in the power of movies and for them to continue on for future generations. This movie also has a message for the audience, which is that film is beautiful and worth saving. Another message could be to never give up, because Hugo is brave and he continued on living on his own and to never stop fixing the automaton and the clocks. Hugo is worth watching, find out what happens in the happy ending and what happens to Hugo. Who originally created the automaton?

A quote that was said by Hugo in the movie is: “I imagine that the whole world is one big machine”, which really leaves you thinking.

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