Based on Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and directed by Martin Scorsese, Hugo is truly an experience. Though I haven’t read the book and didn’t quite know what to expect, Hugo immediately captured my attention from the very first scenes. Starring Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz, Hugo is full of beautiful scenery and ideas to contemplate.
In the early 1930s Paris, young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives at a railway station, where his job is to rewind all the clocks. Hugo was left an orphan after his father died in a fire, and now he is carrying on with what they started – fixing an automaton. Hugo is determined to solve the automaton’s mystery, which will lead him to some surprising discoveries .
First of all, the film is absolutely gorgeous to look at. The 1930s Paris is reconstructed beautifully, with the warm yellow tones brought out, giving the picture somewhat of a magical feel. The details are great – especially with all the intricate clockwork, featured extensively throughout the film (I couldn’t help but think of steampunk).
Asa Butterfield carries the movie convincingly and brings a great emotional quality to the story. This is no small task, considering he has to act next to someone like Ben Kingsley. Ben Kingsley’s character carries one of mysteries of the story (if not the most important one), and watching his character unravel is quite fascinating. The Station inspector, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, has plenty of comic scenes, even though his character is unlikable most of the time.
I really enjoyed how the theme of movies and movie history weaved itself in and gradually expanded through the course of the film. Another very interesting theme, and perhaps, the most important one is of loosing and finding one’s purpose in life, and the analogies between people and the way the machines work are great.
I would highly recommend seeing Hugo in a theater – the camera work is great and the big screen will only add to this very enjoyable experience.