Five Things That Astounded Me About “The Artist”

The Artist. That’s that big silent film that’s been winning loads of awards, right? Honestly, I hadn’t heard a thing about it, but then Mum got one of those two free tickets with Sky dealies and I said “well, why not?” I’ve always felt I should take an interest in old cinema, and since I can’t be bothered hunting down -actual- old cinema, this appealed to me as a good starting point. And boy, what a starting point it was.

So, like my review for Tinker Tailor, I’m going to ignore the wonderful acting, the beautiful cinematography, and all that nonsense, and talk about the crazy shit that I really liked.

1. Malcolm McDowell is in it

So we’re following the young starlet that is our lead female as she is heading to the movie studio to try out for her first role as an extra in a film. It’s a typical scene, with around a hundred people milling around waiting to be called through in the hopes of trying to get in a film. She wanders over to a bench and sits down next to an old m- OH MY GOD IT’S MALCOLM MCDOWELL.

I don’t even know why I’m that impressed – to be honest, I first said “Oh my God, it’s Terence Stamp!” because as it happens I get the two confused constantly. Still, Malcolm McDowell was a definite suprise and one of the most memorable things for me (and there are lots more, better, memorable scenes in this film).

2. John Goodman is in it

So we walked in about ten minutes late to the showing, and our lead man is prancing about on stage, being the comedy goldmine that he apparently is, while his co-star of the play he’s doing in the film starts complaining to hey wait isn’t that John Goodman?

I’m not entirely sure what one can say about an actor in a silent film; yes he was emotive and believeable, but having had no experience with silent movies prior to this, I can’t really say whether he was -good- at being emotive and believeable. I have no context! (I promise you that’s a line from The Big Lebowski.)

3. That’s not Rachel McAdams

Yeah, I called bullshit on this one too. How is that not Rachel McAdams? I don’t care what the credits say, or even if the woman it actually is really is a real person, that’s SO Rachel McAdams! I knew she must’ve been doing something else in order to justify having such a meaningless role in Sherlock Holmes 2!

Either way, whoever this woman is does an excellent job of looking like Rachel McAdams for the duration of the film, as well as being a great actress in her own right. Hats off to her.

4. It is very, very clever

I was expecting a love story in the strictest of senses, and what I got was a pastiche of silent films, with some slick humour thrown in with a wonderful love story. It’s as witty as it is charming, and there are some beautifully crafted lines in there that work on whole different planes of reality.

So thank you, The Artist, for defying my expectations and knocking me off guard. Mainly because I hadn’t seen a thing for you and my only knowledge was what I grabbed from Wikipedia about half an hour before I saw you.

5. Did I mention it had Malcolm McDowell in it?

Only joking.

5. It really made me want to play The Movies again

Set in the ’20s? Big movie studios? Fresh meat replacing the old guys? Oh my God, The Movies is crazy accurate!

I so wanna play this game right now. I’m not even joking. I fucking love The Movies, especially when played at three in the morning when you haven’t slept for hours. I always start new games as well, so I never make it beyond, say, the ’60s, which is great for feeling like a film buff.

Where’s my disc? I’m playing this shit NOW!