I went into Hugo with literally no expectations. It was a Scorsese picture, but definitely not a typical “Martin Scorsese’ picture. It’s a 3D film (bleh) but Hugo is a complete family film (by far the best use for that technology in my opinion). I came out of Hugo not overwhelmed, but pleasantly surprised that the film I thought I walked into 5 minutes in, morphed into something more ambitious by the time I walked out.
An orphan boy lives in a train station and keeps the clocks tuned. He’s constantly at odds and on the run from a local shopkeeper (played by Ben Kingsley) who accuses him of theft, and a beat cop (played with subtle humor by Sasha Baron Cohen) whose trying to send him straight to the orphanage. The story of how these various men (and others) relate to and are connected to each other is charming, and another tribute to the master storytelling ability of Scorsese. Like any of us have doubted that ability for the past 30 years!
Without giving away the plot points that I didn’t know about walking in, I will say it’s interesting to wonder if this is the direction Scorsese may be going next. The Departed got him his Oscar but to me that’s not even among his top 3 crime films; recently he’s done more documentaries which are nice change of pace pieces. Is ‘Marty’ going to take a cue from his buddy DeNiro and start doing more family friendly fare? Hmm, don’t know how I feel about that but I guess we’ll see.
Regardless Hugo is a nice film that at the moment seems to be stuck in a year (or an awards season at least) of several high quality films. I guess we’ll see where it lands…