Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Dir.: Martin Scorsese
With: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Ben Kinglsey

This is definitely a curious one. A children's period piece, directed by Martin Scorcese. Hmmm.

In retrospect, it was very enjoyable and the cinematography, enhanced by a clever use of 3D, was spectacularly beautiful. However, since it's been marketed as a children's film, I was really surprised by its length and the slow pace. The first hour especially felt like an old gum - dragging on and on and on with nothing much happening. Later on the story picked up and the ending had a bit more panache, so, overall I forgive the director for this unfortunate bit of editing. I asked a member of the target audience (aka my brother) if he liked it and he said he did although he was very tired and restless by the end, so really Mr Scorsese, do you not have any grandchildren yourself?

I liked the story a lot because in a way it was almost like a beginner's guide to cinema, a really nice way to  introduce younger audiences to the history of cinematography. As you might have heard, Scorcese has supported film study and preservation throughout his lifetime, so his interest in this is quite understandable. There was a strong nostalgic feeling and, when compared to 'The Artist' which I reviewed earlier, the two films go almost hand in hand ('The Artist' being by far superior of course).

The performances by both Asa Butterfield (a smaller version of Cillian Murphy) and Chloe Moretz were good but somehow I found them too measured, too timid, too controlled. They did not come across as children, but as little adults, trying to meddle in other people's lives. Ben Kingsley, on the other hand, was wonderful and I very much enjoyed his take on French enigmatism. Sacha Baron Cohen was also pretty good, as was the rest of the support cast - mainly British actors, last seen in the 'Harry Potter' franchise.

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