An Analysis of a Film/ Book: (mostly about the movie) Hugo: A Mystery within a Mystery


Hugo is one of the movies that was originally a book. It is based on the award-winning book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick. Hugo or The Invention of Hugo Cabret explores ideas that vary from the essence of time and memory to the history of movies.

    In the opening sequence Hugo, the protagonist is looking through a large clock face down into a train station. In the beginning, we don’t know who he is and/ or why he appears to be inside a clock or clock tower. It is important to know that the scene is not in colour, and there is a continuous movement of the people in the train station, along with the movement of the clock hands. This aspect makes the opening sequence look like an old- fashioned movie with an addition to each frame that would twitch or flicker. This scene gives the audience an idea that the clock and passage of time is an important concept in the film. It is also a subtle clue that old movies have a significant part in the mystery.




    The movie centres the mystery of Hugo’s story. He is an orphan who is hiding out in the train station. He is the one who keeps the clocks running and he is trying to restore or repair an automaton that was left to him by his late father. (An automaton is an early form of robot which was motorized by gears like a clock). Hugo believes that the automaton contains a secret message from his late father. The automaton is also missing an important part, which is the key that starts the internal clockwork to make it run.




The element of mystery in Hugo works because we are given a young boy who has a passion for gears and in fixing clocks, which is very odd at a young age. Also because we are given a mystery that is not only about the boy but the people around him. It also works because as the movie progresses you keep on wanting more, you still want to keep on watching and know what will happen next. As it says on the title of this paper, I believe that this movie is a mystery within a mystery.




    In the movie, we can see the formula play out. We see Hugo as the main character and the eccentric genius or the Holmes of the movie. The tragic event that he encounters is his father’s death which results to him to become an orphan and live in a clock tower in the middle of a train station. We also meet Isabel, the Watson of the movie, she helps Hugo figure out how the automaton works and what it means. And the opposing force is in the form of the security guard or station inspector.


Station Inspector


An ambiguous drawing, a treasured notebook, a heart- shaped key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s deceased father form the foundation of this complex, delicate, and beguile mystery. Hugo is a curious teenager who is just trying to figure out how the world works. George represents an old man with demons that he is trying to forget. While Isabel is an adventurous and bold type of girl. These characteristics also helps the story to move forward and helps the mystery genre.


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