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Fully utilizing the blue/orange color scheme, Scorsese has created the only well-made film, that I know of, with an anachronistic steampunk backdrop. This conjures a dreamlike childhood nostalgia which is compared to the timeless magic of early cinema.
"Hugo" starts off very whimsically with the story of Hugo Cabret, a precocious orphan who occupies the walls of a train station. We are treated to the character's story as well as some very enjoyable acting from the ensemble cast, the most notable being Sacha Baron Cohen's refreshing and layered performance in contrast to his more notorious personas. The film later transitions to a story of film itself by orbiting around the work of Georges Melies, a filmmaker Scorsese obviously has much admiration for.
The two stories, that of the plot revolving around the character Hugo and the plot revolving around Melies, feel rather discrete. Obviously they are interconnected but one feels like Scorsese trying to tell a Truffautesque story of nostalgic innocence while the other is like a rushed yet unmitigated love letter to the magic of early cinema, with Hugo and Tabard as Scorsese's doppelgangers, respectively.
As a whole, "Hugo" is quite an airy, ethereal experience, expected as it is made from the hands of such a creative and skilled filmmaker. Its complementarity, where it feels like two completely different movies with one being vastly superior, is just a bit too potent for my taste.