Just saw “The Artist” and cannot recommend it. Moved very slowly, by which I mean interest (mine) was not held. It did get me to stay to the end out of curiosity: would the hero do this or won’t he? etc.
He didn’t speak a word, as you know: it’s a mostly silent film, except for the music, which is fine. I’d call it a musical with pantomime and a caption here and there to keep you up on things. Which is a silent film, is it not?
I went very much of my own accord and out of my way — to a cinema on a Saturday afternoon — so did not go seeking to nitpick. But it’s a moviemaker’s movie. Buffs will glory in it, I suppose, not least because it’s about movie history, the switch to talkies and the inability of silent stars to make the switch.
Not quite in this case: the hero doesn’t want to switch. We never discover if he could talk. But he has something else going for him, which I won’t tell.
The female lead is a love. No problem watching her on the silent screen. Nor do I want to condemn the overall effort. The problem is not the silence but the story line and how long (and melodramatically) it took to unwind.
Go see it if you want, I can’t remember when anyone went or not to see a movie on my say-so.
Later: More I think about it, the medium is also to blame in itself. You take talking away from your characters, and what happens to your story? They are reduced to pantomime, as above. No wonder the early silents dealt in such obvious images as the lady strapped to the tracks as the train approached and the mustache-twirling villain congratulated himself.