The Little Tramp finds work at a fast-paced factory and struggles to contend with the demands of the industrialized world, winding up in and out of jail while also falling in love with a kind orphan girl.
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P. Virilio's Lugosian anathema hovering over every early talkie (the sonorization of the visual is selon lui an atrocity marching along the war machine - "The eyes are soul's windows, but film its iron shutters"), I for one find few things more pleasing than a mechanical art's self-disavowal. Chaplin's clumsiness is performative and prescriptive, the antidote to Bond-style robotic precision of no-more-human automata.
"Modern Times" not only contains one of the finest Chaplin scores (and we know today that he really took care about every detail of instrumentation in dictating his coworkers how to write it down... in spite of what he told in public) but also some of the most iconic sequences of all his films like the song scene, the demonstration, the factory sequence, the roller skates scene and of course the beautiful last shot.
A damning indictment of modernism in a post-industrial era where the welfare of the people was sacrificed in aid of advancement; that is, creating a culture at its technological peak regardless of toil on the populace. Chaplin's comedy/satire has a shrewd eye for critique, disguising his contentious ideological stance behind slapstick and the naivety of the tale's protagonist. Chaplin was a genius.
The greatest time capsule of a movie and Chaplin's peak. Each episode in this story is a little comedic revelation. From the skating in the
mall sequence to the LOL factory sequences, this may be the most consistently hilarious movie ever made. I also love that the female was more of a partner rather than a love interest. Finally, that song at the end is a brilliant middle finger to sound cinema.
Modern Times is indeed ahead of it's time. In fact, its socioeconomic satire is still quire relevant now. Chaplin has a critical eye, and his ideologies are conveyed through slapstick comedy, resulting in a timeless cinematic pleasure!