Monday, 21 January 2013

Les Miserables

Adapted from Victor Hugo's well known epic and the hit stage musical which over the years has made a huge impact. Les Miserables follows Jean Valjean a prisoner condemned for stealing a loaf of bread in an attempt to help his sisters starving family, has spent nineteen slaving away under the watchful eye of Inspector Javert. When his time as a free man finally comes forth Javert reminds Valjean that despite what he thinks is freedom, he'll where the crimes of his conviction until the day he dies, true enough Valjean finds a harsh world waiting for an ex-convict. At his lowest Valjean attempts to return to the very method of survival which condemned him, by stealing from an elderly priest and the only one who tries to help Valjean. Caught with the priests silver he is thrown down to his mercy, yet the priest looks at Valjean with only kindness instead increasing the bundle which Valjean already has possession of. Years pass and now known as Monsieur Madeline, Javert has built his life anew and a business in a town of which he is mayor, though when Inspector Javert once more appears in his life musing suspicions Valjean is put on edge. Only when a worker named Fantine is forced from his employment via his foreman, Valjean discovers he must once more stand up and make amends while at the same time a man matching valjeans description is caught and forced to answer for his own crimes. After finding Fantine who's health is quickly deteriorating, confessing that he is truly the Jean Valjean they and Javert search for and promising to look after Fantine's daughter Cosette. Valjean finds himself once more forced into a new life running from Javert with the young Cosette in tow, yet the world he has for so long run from ends up always biting at his heels and soon Javert, Cosette and even the struggle of revolutionaries force Valjean to truly take a stand.  

Kicking off Les Mis's Stellar cast is Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, showing for the first time on the big screen that Jackman is as good at vocally performing as he is at taking lead of one of Marvel's biggest franchises. Fellow Australian Russel Crowe takes to hunting Valjean as Inspector Javert and while like Jackman he's more used to dealing with more action orientated roles, Crowe gives his all when it comes to rising to the musical challenge.Dreaming about dreams after having an already big year Anne Hathaway tugs at the emotional strings as the strong yetr broken Fontaine giving an inspiring an heartbreakingly brilliant performance. The more youthful romantics come in the form of the apple of Valjean's eye Cosette played by Amanda Seyfried and the sorrowfully forgotten Eponine played by Samantha Barks, while Seyfried does amicably in singing her character is rather subdued in comparison to the rest of the cast. While Eponine's own tragic storyline and vocals really have you loving her character and the emotion she pulls along with it. The girls cause a commotion to two men who already have their hands full planning a revolution, mainly Marius portrayed by Eddie Redmayne who's loyalties lay torn between catching a glimpse of the love of his life and sweeping Paris for her or taking to friend Enjolras played by Aaron Tviet plans of revolting for the people of France and leading a new beginning in a wave of rebellion. Both boys take to their roles with enthusiam and force that while lacking the experience of some of the leads they clearly show here how talented they both really are. The most surprisingly entertaining and immense roles come from the comedic relief in Thenardier and his madame, Sacha Baron Cohen and Hellena Bonham Carter really bring the light heart to the overbearing back bone of hardship portrayed by the rest of the characters. Last by no means least is the lovable little rouge Gavroche with a twinkle in his eye Daniel Huttlestone is pitch perfect in his performance..

A film of such gigantic proportions, aiming to please both fans of the musical and the epic novel by Victor Hugo and yet still draw in novices', Les Miserables manages to cover all it's aims. With a cast full of grand names it already attracts the eye, beautiful sets along with costume design and phenomenal renditions of by this stage well known lyrics made even better in the way they were filmed on set rather than studio recorded giving them an added sense of realism and emotion. From the way it's filmed down to the gritty appearance and stage like use of space shows a sense of sticking to what made it a success in it's origins and yet at the same time an impressively fresh take to draw theatre goers. When Superhero and age old spies are the mainstay of cinemas these days Les Miserables gives musical loves a wave of pleasure, while films like Pitch Perfect comfortably find their set audience Les Miserables in contrast should offer a different experience for fans of film in general and branches out to everyone as a grand musical epic, a stunning cast, a beautifully peiced together film with a truly endearing soundtrack full of emotionally stirring songs. Les Miserables is undeniably a grand success, offering a little something for everyone and a standing up as a truly stunning film.

10  /  10


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