Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Book Review)


The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Reason to Read: September Selection for Book to Film Club

This is one of our Book to Film Club selections that I knew very little about going in as it was a recommendation about a friend and once I saw that it was an unusual combination of illustrations and text as well as having a touchstone to the time of when film began, I knew it was a shoe in for the club. After selecting the title, I had to wait 9 whole months to actually get my hands on it and read it! Oh, I did browse it at the library once, but just once! Once I did have a chance to dive in I was hooked. I loved the illustrations and forgot that images can be such a quick and adept form of storytelling. I really liked how they followed particular moments with a sequence of images, often going deeper or pulling the specific focus of the moment.

I was surprized though that I didn't quite take to the character of Hugo right away, I was curious about his back story and wanted to hear more as well as being sympathic to his situation of fending for himself but it didn't quite click for me right away although it did build over time. I think he starts off pretty withdrawn with his sense of wonder being dimmed pretty low, but as it lights up and got more and more drawn into his world. And I really liked the world, the book does a great job giving the reader a sense of the time and the place and I loved the location of the train station, it felt so vast and piqued my curiosity.

Overall it was easy to sink my eyes and hands into this one, a very accessible story of wonder and enlightenment and I loved that. It's got a extra special something for the film historians & fans out there and that's one thing I'm really curious to see how or if they will incorporate into the film. It's odd because I usually have at this point a strong sense of how I feel about the casting, but I'm at a loss not having any reference for Asa Butterfield, who will play Hugo Cabret. I am familiar with Chloë Moretz from Kick-Ass & Let Me In, and it will be interesting to see her in the more subtle role in this film. Although I haven't matched up the rest of the cast of Michael Pitt, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen to their roles, they are all actors I enjoy so look forward to seeing them on screen. I also totally forgot that Martin Scorcese (Shutter Island, The Departed, Gangs of New York, Goodfellas) is directing, which is likely the reason the film wasn't on my radar as I'm not always a fan of his films, although they are always gorgeous with great art direction and that's will be key to creating the Hugo's world.

If you haven't yet joined the Book to Film Club, you can still join us in the final stretch for with The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (October 2011) and Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (November 2011). Sign up for updates here.

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