HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
PTU
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
   
 
Newest Articles
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
   
 
  Misérables, Les The Glums
Year: 2012
Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone, Colm Wilkinson, Michael Sarne
Genre: Musical, Drama, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1815 and the city is Paris, where Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is on a chain gang at the docks, pulling a damaged ship out of the sea. He got there because many years ago he was caught stealing a loaf of bread and no matter how much he protested it was to feed the starving son of his sister, those excuses fell on deaf ears which is why he has spent so long in shackles - that and his attempts at escape. But now he has a chance of parole, and after the master Javert (Russell Crowe) instructs him to lift the broken flag out of the water to teach him who is boss, he gives him a leaf of paper with his conditional release on it. But even with freedom within his grasp, Valjean is still hungry...

Before it was a legendary musical in London's West End and later Broadway, Les Misérables was a celebrated novel by Victor Hugo, and had lasted very well on its own with classic status before the Cameron Mackintosh production was such a success. Nowadays, if anything the musical has upstaged the text, and the Oscar-winning movie drawn from it only served to underline that so much so that any mention of Hugo's source brings to mind the song-packed telling of his lengthy tale. Certainly the fans of the theatre experience ensured the film was a major hit in cinemas, with many more who had not had the pleasure of its lavish presentation flocking to see what the big deal was.

For many of them, after emerging two and a half hours later, they still couldn't see what the big deal was, and Les Misérables joined the ranks of movie adaptations of theatrical musicals where the only folks who thoroughly enjoyed them were those who had watched them on the stage, often more than once, twice, three times. That said, this was probably more Mamma Mia! than it was Rent, The Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages or the many live successes that had fallen flat on their faces for anyone who had not had the benefit of attending the actual show with actors performing without the benefit of lipsyncing, and could truly get something out of knowing the songs beforehand.

In this case, a lot like an Andrew Lloyd Webber work, almost all the dialogue was sung with a couple of truly memorable tunes, only here there was really one song everyone knew, and that was I Dreamed a Dream; even then, it was likely Susan Boyle they were thinking of when they heard it, and she wasn't part of any original Les Mis cast. Undeterred, director Tom Hooper took his actors and pressed them into service with one major condition: they all had to sing live and be recorded doing so. The idea was to offer more of a film performance than a stage one, with proper thespianism, so it did not matter so much if they were not belting out the melodies, as they could sell the emotion of the scenes with their other talent for playing characters.

Fair enough, the actors on the stage had to do that every night, but with the emphasis on bringing out the characterisation in tandem with the singing it did mean their voices sounded strained, as if they were concentrating on other things, which they may well have been. Some emerged from this better than others; there were those who had a problem with Anne Hathaway's stylings, but she read the tone of the material very well and it was no so surprise she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, such was the impression she made with a mere fifteen minutes of screen time in an elephantine movie (which included an elephant too). Russell Crowe was not so lucky, with much criticism coming his way, but as the bad guy his physical presence was impressive, not embarrassing himself as some would have it.

Javert was also offered an interesting "character arc" (as they say in screenwriting courses), doggedly pursuing Valjean for almost the whole story with a completely out of proportion reaction to his idea of bringing him to a justice that for most people wouldn't matter anything like as much, and Crowe lent a glowering, bullying mood to his interpretation that made his eventual realisation Javert has been wasting his life for decades of needless obsession all the more powerful. On the other hand, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter's husband and wife schemers as comical characters were out of step with the rest of it, considering how, well, miserable it became. Elsewhere, Amanda Seyfried displayed a slightly offputting vibrato as Valjean's young charge and post-Revolutionary Paris was lavishly rendered, but there was a problem, and that was its sheer relentlessness, everything on the same note and tunes sounding the same, therefore be warned: if you didn't see it on stage, be prepared to be worn down into enervation after about an hour.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2163 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: