It might not have the adventure, the scale, or the thrills you want, yet it is still an endearing and warm tale of a young boy named Hugo in a journey to uncover the mysteries of his father's heritance and the true identity behind a shopkeeper of the train station he swelled in. As aberrant as his subsequent work "The Wolf of Wall Street" would soon seem, this family film is an outright anomalous project from the hands of one of the most legendary directors in Hollywood, Martin Scorcese, and even though there didn't contain a single foul word, pop culture references or even PG stuff, trace of Scorcese's masterful visionary can be seen hidden in the core. It is a well-crafted and lovely film, if not matching the expectations I held beforehand.
Hugo (2011) is said to be the dearest picture to the great director's own heart of his filmography. It is true considering that Hugo, the protagonist, actually depicts Scorsese himself in his childhood times. You'll kinda get the feeling that this film is all him doing whatever he want instead of proving the world of his abilities to produce classics and large-scale movies, pretty much like Nolan making what he loves like Inception and Interstellar after rising into power with The Dark Knight. The story is much more simple than I thought of, and the only peril our small protagonist faced was the station inspector who threatened to bring him to the orphanage, but he is actually present for most of the screen time for comic relief, showing silly facial expressions throughout with some occasional slapstick. So while the great director is not dramatizing the plot in this one, he makes up of it with some crucial film elements. Firstly the visuals and the use of colour is exceptional, as the bluish background adorn with scintillating lights of the train station and the city as a whole is enchanting, mysterious and inexplicably warm to the heart, while the score is fantastic. The lead characters, despite being child actors, have delivered laudable performances. These film elements are brilliant decorations, allowing the movie to entertain while it is trying to convey meaningful themes and paying tributes to the birth of cinema and the great filmmakers that once lived.
With this apparently simple-minded movie, Martin Scorsese has once again shown the grandness of his vision. For more sophisticated viewers, the movie is breathtaking and thought-provoking, an epic that doesn't need any language or violence to depict, but instead captures on the innocence of boyhood that were almost wiped out within most older viewers. That's the reason why the movie looks so easy is understand but so hard to fully appreciate.