DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Les Misérables

Les Misérables (12a)

Dir. Tom Hooper

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

You’ve maybe seen the stage musical, you’ve almost certainly heard Susan Boyle’s version of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ but are you ready for a big screen, all singing, all A-list sing-em-up action drama?

Set in 19th-century France, this is the tale of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a good hearted man who is hunted throughout his life by a ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole. Valjean has served 19 years hard labour for stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child so he’s not the worst criminal on the block…

Fate sees him cross paths with an unfortunate woman named Fantine (Anne Hathaway) whose daughter, Cosette (played first by Isabelle Allen and then Amanda Syfried) he agrees to look after. Will Valjean manage to stay free of the law to bring up Corsette? Will Corsette find love with revolutionary rich boy Marius (British actor Eddie Redmayne) and can such a tragic tale of love and loss become a feel good sing along classic?

"Catwoman and Wolverine - that's a movie I'd like to see!"

Les Misérables – the longest ever running musical stage show lends itself to becoming a rich and visually impressive movie. Buoyed by a strong cast of actors who can actually sing and an impressive eye for detail from director Tom ‘The King’s Speech’ Hooper (who has come a long way from directing Brit kids TV show Byker Grove), there is much to enjoy here.

As well as the cat and mouse chase dynamic at the heart of the tale, there is also some welcome comic relief from Sacha Baron Cohen as Thénardier and Helena Bonham Carter as his wife – the two reunited after both being in 2007’s Sweeney Todd.

"What big eyes you have..."

If you hate musicals then you will struggle and even if you don’t, the is never going to be a way to make sung dialogue acceptable in movies but for fans of the original, cough Tom ‘seen it 7 times’ Wade I’m talking about people like you, this version will send you home with a song in your heart and a desire to pick up the soundtrack album…

Epic in it’s own overblown way at almost 3 hours, for me the film would have been more satisfying if trimmed by ½ an hour to stop the plot flagging, especially near the end – a sort of ‘Less’ Misérables!?

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö - Do you hear the (famous) people sing?

4 – Powerful, emotive and very long...

Awesomeness öööö – You'll dream a dream of quality production values!

Laughs ööö – some light relief amongst the gloom and loss

Horror öö – dirty French peasants a go go

Babes ööö – Syfried wields her pair of big eyes, plus Samantha Barks is yummy (below)

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!

Alternative review - try CULTURESLAP!!

"Samantha Barks - looks the part!"

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