The Artist

Can the award-winning silent movie bag even more plaudits as it makes its Blu-ray debut?

Despite all of the awards heaped on it, this homage to silent cinema really isn’t the best film of the last year – it’s not even the best film I’ve seen this month. But, to give The Artist its dues, it is a funny, inventive and charming romantic-comedy-drama about the arrival of the ‘Talkies’ to Hollywood. Just don’t go expecting the most incredible movie experience of your life and you’ll be fine.

Picture: The Artist is an extreordinarly handsome film that makes for an attractive hi-def viewing experience. The AVC 1080p encode delivers a 1.33:1 monochrome image comprised of rich blacks, crisp whites and an impressively wide range of perfectly rendered shades of grey between them.

Detailing is generally strong – certainly refined enough to just about make out the text in the ‘Kinograph Studios to Stop All Silent Productions…’ story in the newspaper in Chapter 5. My only real criticism is the evidence of slight digital filtering in some scenes, although this may well be a hold-over from the post-production process rather than an issue with the BD master.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: As a modern take on the silent film, it’s not too surprising to discover that The Artist’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack isn’t particularly expansive. Where the mix really excels is in its handling of Ludovic Bource’s score, which is delivered with rich, warm tones that swell up all around you from every speaker. There are also a handful of sonic surprises in the mix (one of the most notable examples happens in Chapter 4) which I don’t want to spoil here. Suffice to say that they succeed in adding some additional flair and dynamism to the Blu-ray’s lossless soundtrack. Maybe these silent films could catch on...
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: While not exactly overflowing with an abundance of bonus features, this Blu-ray does have some that are worth dipping into.

The Artist: The Making of a Hollywood Love Story provides a 22-minute overview of the film’s production and Hollywood as a Character devotes its five-minute running time to exploring the importance of the film’s locations. The Artisans Behind the Artist offers up a quartet of short vignettes dedicated to The Production DesignThe Cinematography, The Costumes and The Composer. While none of these mini featurettes lasts longer than four minutes, each manages to get to the heart of its subject and highlight the talented individuals involved with each aspect of the filmmaking process.

Rounding out the set is blooper reel and a wonderful 45-minute on-stage Q&A with writer/director Michael Hazanvicius, producer Thomas Langmann and actors Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo and Missi Pyle.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: It’s not perfect, but this fun film still provides hours of entertainment on Blu-ray

Entertainment in Video, Region B BD, £25 Approx, On sale May 28