Saturday, February 2, 2013

Les Misérables Review

Les Miserables Review

Director: Tom Hooper

Cast Headliners: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe

Original Release Date: December 25, 2012

Les Mis, as it will be referred to from here on out because of the semi complex name, is a quality musical film. It is a classic story based on the old Victor Hugo novel which has been told in my formats both on stage and on screen, but this is the first major attempt at filming it for Hollywood with an ensemble cast.  It has a very impressive cast who all have a accomplished background, and the result is delightful experience.
            The film takes place in a semi-obscure time of history. Napoleon is not in control but tyranny lives on. The people are downtrodden and crushed and rebellion is brewing. Hugh Jackman is Jean Valjean, a prisoner.  He toils under the watch of an officer named Javert who is the film’s antagonist, played wonderfully by Russell Crowe.  He escapes and gets entangled into various twists and turns, making him cross paths with Anne Hattheway’s Fantine character.
            Now, it must be noted that this is a musical adaptation. That means that the soundtrack is wonderful filling nearly every moment with lush strings, but also most of the dialogue is sung rather than talked.  An actor like Jackman, whose background includes theater, sounds great when he sings. Crowe has a not so pleasing voice, but Hattheway has one of the best most inspiring songs of the movie. That gives the film a mixed feeling. Another highlight was the characters played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as wicked but funny inn keepers. They are the highlights, as (with all respect to Mr.Hugo) the movie has a wishy washy plot. The first half is definitely better than the second set years later. Amanda Seyfried as older Cosette barely even is on screen, kind of a letdown to having her child form on the poster.
            The highlight is the epic scale and the music. Anything else is passable but seen before. Still, it is a solid film with some decent performances and an incredible soundtrack. The scale makes up for the flaws. 8.25 out of 10

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