Scorsese delivers a true masterpiece with ‘Hugo’

Director Martin Scorsese is a legendary filmmaker. It’s safe to say he will go down as one of the top 10 filmmakers in cinema history after his career because of the artistic and visionary style he brings to his stories.

However, if there’s something that’s missing from Scorsese’s extensive filmography, it’s the fact that he hasn’t made a standout movie that’s suitable for all ages to watch.

Profanity and violence  appear in Scorsese’s most celebrated works, such as “The Departed” (2006), “Taxi Driver” (1976) and “Goodfellas” (1990).

But all that has changed now with the release of “Hugo” (rated PG), which is his first family-oriented film and also the first 3-D one.

“Hugo” follows the story of its title character, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), a young boy living in the walls of a train station set in 1930s Paris.

He lives alone after his father (Jude Law) died in a museum fire. Following in his father’s footsteps, Hugo takes on the job of the train station’s clocksmith.

During his time at the train station, he tries to avoid the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) to keep from being sent away to an orphanage.

While balancing those activities, he tries to solve the mysterious puzzle behind the broken automaton his father left behind after his death.

He steals little mechanical parts from a disgruntled toy shop owner named Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley) in an attempt to fix his automaton. However, he is eventually caught by Georges, much to his dismay.

He receives help from a young girl named Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who is revealed to be Georges’ goddaughter. Together they embark on an adventure to unlock the hidden message behind the automaton.

With a screenplay done by John Logan (“The Aviator” and “Gladiator”), “Hugo” is based on the 2007 novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick.

Although Logan deserves credit for adapting this masterpiece well to the big screen, Scorsese deserves the most praise for his artistic direction of “Hugo.”

Every little detail, from the lush scenery to the beautiful set pieces, immerses the viewer right into the story, something few films these days can pull off. Scorsese also gets creative with the 3-D in the film as well.

Another impressive feat that the film delivers is the appreciation for the rich history of cinema, which plays an important role in the story as the viewer later finds out.

Both Hugo and his father loved going to the movies and always seemed to be mesmerized every time they saw moving pictures on a big screen.

This appreciation alone in the story reflects the amount of passion that Scorsese instilled into the film.

The quality of the acting in this film certainly comes as a surprise, especially when two of the main characters are played by young actors in Butterfield and Moretz.

They played their respective roles to perfection.

The viewer especially begins to cheer for Butterfield’s character, Hugo, a lonely yet brave young boy who is determined to find to fix what his father didn’t have a chance to.

Kingsley is probably in his best form since he won an Oscar for best actor in 1982 for his portrayal of Mohandas Ghandi in “Ghandi.”

And Sacha Baron Cohen, with his portrayal of the station inspector, shows that he can take on serious roles, contradictory to his zany roles in “Borat” and “Bruno.”

Scorsese definitely hit a home run with “Hugo.” No other film this year has been able to captivate audiences the way Scorsese has with “Hugo.” Oddly enough, he has never won best picture at the Academy Awards. That could change come next February.


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