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It all seems so unlikely; not only making a movie about the silent movie period but also doing it completely without sound as well. A true daring and not so everyday project but it's however a gamble that truly paid off really well!

Clearly this is an homage to old Hollywood movies, of the silent- but as well the early black & white, talking era. But it pays homage by becoming the like the movie of its era, which it is paying homage to. It doesn't ever get into your face about it that this is supposed to be a love letter to old Hollywood. The movie is far more subtle than that really and greatly put together with lots of care and eye to detail on its own. It's simply being a great movie on its own, which in itself is perhaps the greatest homage the movie could had paid, to a time that is long gone.

It's a movie that does take you back to a time when movies and watching movies was still a totally different experience. A sort of carefree time, when movies still had a real innocence over them and were only made to purely entertaining its audience and give everybody a great time.

Watching this movie makes it very obvious that the filmmakers had obviously been doing their homework. I was able to recognize many different general film styles, from mostly the '20's and '30's in this but also styles handled by some well known directors of its era. It's a movie that truly references to some great movies of its era, whether it is with one of their characters, its story or simply a certain shot. But this all is done in a totally non-distracting way and everything works out beautifully and smoothly together.

Everybody could of course make a black & white movie, done without sound but making it look good and work out convincing as an old fashioned silent movie is of course a totally different thing. It's all about the details to get the look and feeling right and I believe this movie absolutely nailed it. The way the actors look and act in this movie is spot on but also some more subtle things, such as its lighting is absolutely perfect and helps to truly give the movie an old look. Yes, this movie truly looks and feels as if it got made like a true movie from the late '20's, also not in the least thanks to its music as well.

Its story definitely had a kind of "Sunset Blvd." to it, which is also a movie I absolutely loved. It more or less features a similar sort of concept, with of course as a big difference that this movie is without sound. It doesn't mean that any of the emotions or drama comes across as anything less. It's simply a beautiful, warm story, with real human emotions to it, which are all very sensible.

And just like "Sunset Blvd.", this also a movie about filmmaking and gives you look of what went on behind the camera's in Hollywood, at the time. It shows the time when the big transition between the silent and talking pictures was taking place. For some it was a blessing, to others a curse. Careers got made during this era but just as many got destroyed. This movie shows both sides and what happens when a big star falls down and a young new star rises to the top.

But I also do admit that the story is what's keeping the movie still a bit down. It by no means is one of the best written or most original stories but it simply is executed extremely well and effective, so it perhaps isn't even a real complaint.

For the lead roles unknowns Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo got cast but the movie also still has some surprisingly big names in it, such as most notably John Goodman and James Cromwell. Surprising, since this of course was a low key production, with a not so everyday idea and approach to it. But no matter whether the actor is well known or not, everybody played their roles really well and all seemed perfectly cast in their roles.

A truly daring project and I'm glad to see its getting all the recognition and praise, which it truly deserves. It's way more than just a gimmicky movie. It's a true astonishing accomplishment and a beautiful piece of love and deep devotion to an extinct genre, from director Michel Hazanavicius. I'm sure of it this will be a movie that I shall watch countless times again, for years to come.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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