Whimsical fare of railway tale

The Invention Of Hugo Cabret
The Invention Of Hugo Cabret

HAVE you ever stopped and watched the comings and goings in a big, busy railway station? Along with the usual hustle and bustle of commuters a casual observer will more often than not spot a heartwarming reunion or tear-jerking farewell, moments of kindness or cruelty between strangers and all manner of colourful characters doing some wild and wonderful things.

If you stop for long enough you can get sucked into a mesmerising spell of reflective nostalgia which is only broken when the person or train you were waiting for happens to turn up.

That cosy glow is summed up in Martin Scorsese’s new 3D film Hugo. Instead of gun-toting gangsters, which is the director’s usual fare, the audience is faced with a whimsical story of a lovable orphan and the menagerie of characters he encounters while working as a railway station clock winder in Paris.

Hugo (Asa Butterfield) lives an abandoned lifestyle inside a station clock, stealing to survive and making friends with the only people he can – the other people whose lives revolve around the railway.

He is joined by a host of characters played by some of the best-known faces in cinema.

Stepping up next to Butterfield, Jude Law and Ray Winstone play Hugo’s deceased dad and mean uncle respectively, Ben Kinglsey as toymaker and filmmaker Georges Melies, Sacha Baron Cohen stars as an officious but comically inept railway inspector and Emily Mortimer as the florist he fancies, Christopher Lee is cast against type as a friendly bookseller, and we meet an unlikely pair of tentative lovers in Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour.

This is a pure Christmas classic which is bound to be enjoyed by those watching it on TV over the festive season in years to come.

But to get the full impact of the 3D visual feast of what seems to have been a labour of love for the Oscar-winning director a trip to the cinema comes highly recommended.