Steele’s Reels: Oscar-worthy acting in ‘Hugo’




By Dave Steele

Set in a 1930s Paris laced with a fresh layer of winter’s first snow, “Hugo” tells the story of a recently orphaned boy who lives in the clock tower of the city’s main train station.

After losing his father, the master clock worker of Paris (Jude Law) in a museum fire, Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is taken in by his uncle (Ray Winstone), an alcoholic that is in charge of maintaining the train station’s clocks.

After teaching him how to do his job, his uncle disappears, leaving Hugo completely alone to fend for himself.

Without any friends or caregivers, Hugo has but one comfort and motivation in life, to fix his father’s automaton.

This mechanical man has the ability to write and draw when wound up. However, the device is old and missing many parts, including a mysterious heart shaped key.

Hugo believes that the automaton has a message from his father so he does whatever it takes to repair it, including stealing parts form a toy maker by the name of Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley).

When he is caught, Georges forces Hugo to repair toys in his shop to repay him for the stolen parts. While working in the toyshop, Hugo is met by Georges’ goddaughter Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), a young girl who is infatuated by his mechanical talents.

Shortly after becoming acquainted, Hugo notices something worn around Isabelle’s neck that changes everything— a heart shaped key. This triggers a new adventure to reveal the secrets and connections of the two families and discover how the automaton will change the lives of everyone involved.

Hugo is beautifully shot and directed by filmmaking master Martin Scorsese (“The Departed,” “Shutter Island”). He is challenged by translating the imagination of the New York Time best seller, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” to the big screen.

Scorsese succeeds with breath taking visuals and an innovative plot that will have audiences talking and reflecting the entire drive home.

I really enjoyed how the story deeply involved so many characters’ pasts, as well as their connection and development of feelings regarding Hugo.

However, the real gem that lies within “Hugo” is the acting. I have rarely seen a cast with such convincing chemistry and talent. Ben Kingsley’s (“Shutter Island,” “Lucky Number Sleven”) character is remarkable and a real contender for this year’s Best Actor.

While this movie requires patience that the average moviegoer might not be thrilled with, (it’s two and a half hours and starts a bit slow) Hugo has is a truly unique and artistic experience that is rarely delivered in Hollywood today.

Steele’ Reels: 4.5/5 Stars