Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: John Logan (screenplay), Brian Selznick (book)
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen
Hugo would be a good place to start in a film history class. Not only does it glide through the early history of silent movies, but it also utilizes the latest digital filmmaking technology in doing so. Martin Scorsese has created a film worthy of the 3D technology that is infecting every big Hollywood blockbuster, and he has done it by using not as a showy gimmick, but as a storytelling tool.
Here, that third dimension immerses us in the movie’s world, drawing us into an opening sequence that transforms from turning clock gears to an overview of Paris, into a train station and finally back into the walls full of clock gears as the young boy Hugo (Asa Butterfield) zooms through these tunnels with make-shift abandon. In one of the most finely filmed sequences of the year, Scorsese keeps track of him with a clever tracking shot that simply pans as he turns corners. If this had been converted to 3D instead of filmed that way, you’d already have whiplash.