Andrew Campbell: art director, editorial designer, lover of all things simian.
Going in, I had concerns that the silent movie angle was just a gimmick and merely “a lot of dumb show” (© Kathy Selden, 1927). Having watched it, I’d say it is a gimmick but a damn charming one. It might be nitpicking but it’s a shame it doesn’t fully embrace the era it depicts; an anachronistic editing style and a borrowed soundtrack lend it more of a ‘mashup’ quality. Not quite Tarantino levels but it does give knowing nods whilst not staying entirely true to the period.
Both leads are fantastic. Jean Dujardin is practically channelling Gene Kelly and Bérénice Bejo’s adorable, expressive features were seemingly made for silent film.
The first twenty minutes had me grinning like a loon but the simplistic narrative does wear thin over the running time causing the middle section to sag. Thankfully the third act recovers well and, come the final credits, had people practically skipping out of the cinema.