Coming from a childhood where I wasn’t allowed to see Scorsese films such as, Raging Bull (1980) or Mean Streets (1973), I have to say that Martin Scorsese is a pure genius. Scorsese’s films in the past were all modern crimes, depictions of violence, and getting whacked. In a past interview in 1996 Scorsese even stated to “60 Minutes” “… I’ve been in a bad mood for 25 years!” relating back to his intense films. So to my most delightful surprise, Hugo (2011), was a significant difference from his past. It distinctly shows how much he has mellowed since his daughter was born. Well, actually maybe not too much because of Wolf of Wall Street (2013). It also revealed how Scorsese’s childhood played a major part in the production.
How did I know this was a Martin Scorsese film? I didn’t. Usually, most of his films have Italians or gangsters, and lots of R-rated material. His style is very clear in his films from the beginning of his career to The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). This film, however, is set in the life of 1930s Paris with a young man named, Hugo. In my viewing, of both The King of Comedy (1983) and Hugo (2011) both have comparable story lines. Rupert and Hugo seemed outcast and looking for their futures. In the beginning of Hugo (2011), Hugo was looking thru a huge, tower clock, looking at other’s lives. He was very unhappy with his present, and looking for his future in a robot. Rupert, who was still living with his mother, was looking for a future in Comedy. I think those central themes of trying to figure out what’s next are very similar. The question is would I know they were by the same director? No. Coming from a director whose films have abundant use of violence; you would not think these two are connected. Hugo is a very heartwarming movie and gives tribute to George Melies. George Melies was a French illusionist, film maker, and sadly too ahead of his time. After, all of his works he ended up in a Paris train station selling wind-up toys. He is best known for A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904). I do think the tribute to the pioneer of film making was absolutely flawless. The endings for Rupert and Hugo were very beautiful. Hugo fixed the wind-up doll and found the answer to his future, and the past for Mr. Melies. Rupert in his own strange way got the recognition and fame he wanted also. Both films had little to no violence. That’s what’s so interesting to me. That those films veered off into another side of Martin Scorsese’s usual debuts.
There is no questioning that Scorsese is a complete genius. I think that the best thing a director can do is keep their audience guessing. Hugo (2011) did surprise me because of his past work. I just never thought Scorsese would be behind it.