Film Review: Les Misérables
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3/5 I’d like to begin with the virtues of Les Mis – the music is rousing as ever. Director Tom Hooper insisted that all the singing be recorded live during the shoot rather than in pre-production, and this certainly gives the film a fluidity and a freedom that is rarely found in film musicals. The cast are, unsurprisingly, luminous – even Russell Crowe’s slightly dodgy baritone doesn’t spoil this ensemble. And there are many thrilling moments: the first scene shows a few hundred prisoners pulling a tall ship into harbour during a visceral storm; in one sweeping camera movement Hooper shows us the scale of this task. Some wonderful duets stand out; an early stand-off between Valjean and Javert is both dramatic and great fun. The death of the final two revolutionaries is dealt with suitable poetry and, of course, there is Anne Hathaway’s remarkable rendition of I Dreamed a Dream, which occurs in one striking take – this scene alone could win Hathaway her Oscar. But beyond these fleeting moments of spectacle, the film remains unsatisfying for a number of reasons.
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