Thursday, December 27, 2012

some comments about Les Mis

The actor in me is moved to the brink whenever I see something so brilliantly rendered as the breathtaking movie of Les Mis, and director Tom Hooper deserves to take a big bow. His direction is indeed brilliant every step of the way. In its stark depiction of poverty and deprivation the camera could not get any closer. Close-ups rule the day with rotting teeth and dirty fingernails defining the neglect of this band of corrupted, struggling souls from Valjean (Hugh Jackman) to Fantine (Anne Hathaway) to Javert (Russell Crowe) right down to little muddy-faced Cosette (little doll Isabelle Allen) and stalwart/brave Gavroche (scene-chewing Daniel Huttlestone).
My early prediction: Oscars to the film as Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway) - although Samantha Barks is equally riveting as Eponine - and Best Supporting Actor (Eddie Redmayne) as Marius. I'd award him just for his amazing rendition of "Empty Chairs, Empty Tables". Who knew he could sing, in some ways better than Hugh Jackman? Of course, there will also be a mantlepiece of awards for William Nicholson's screenplay based on Claude-Michel Schoenberg and Alain Boublil's musical play, the astounding cinematography by Danny Cohen and the great technical achievement of sound, costumes, set decoration et al.
Musically the score onstage makes for better listening entertainment. But one must remember that this is the screen and so numbers are slowed down, especially the ballads, toned down to almost a whisper at times. Russell Crowe is not a great singer, but does just fine considering that he must sing at such a high register. With his fierce acting intensity, his Javert is certainly well wrought. Hathaway takes an amazing turn into a role totally unlike her and is emotionally resplendent; Redmayne is such a fine character actor and proves once again just how strong/resourceful he can be. His heartfelt performance in My Week with Marilyn was overlooked; hopefully, his Marius will run away with the awards. As to Jackman, the performance is just splendid. He makes Valjean a lovable and indefatigable hero.
5 stars