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The long-running stage sensation emerges as a well-mounted film "poperetta" in the hands of
The King's Speech
director Tom Hooper. He takes an episodic approach to Victor Hugo's epic saga that revolves around Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman, the bona fide star of this show), a thief-turned-good Samaritan who is doggedly pursued through 19th-century France by the intractable officer Javert (Russell Crowe, looking as awkward as Pierce Brosnan in
). Though the story is abridged it is still rousing thanks to evergreen anthems like
Bring Him Home
and Anne Hathaway's powerfully moving rendition of
I Dreamed a Dream
. But because Hooper doesn't vary their presentation - all camera swoops and emoting close-ups - and because every scene is enacted in song (performed live, with no studio enhancements) it can be rather heavy going. A grimy look and overliteral rhyming in the mundane libretto doesn't help matters. Even if this doesn't convert those who loathe musicals, fans of the stage version will find it built to please.
A former prisoner tries to lead an honest life in post-revolutionary France, despite being pursued everywhere by a fanatical police inspector. He promises a poverty-stricken factory worker that he will raise her child, a relationship that gives his life new meaning, but both of them are drawn into an uprising against the reinstated monarchy. Musical, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.
Cast & Crew
Helena Bonham Carter
Sacha Baron Cohen
Bishop of Digne
Natalya Angel Wallace
Violence, swearing, sex scenes.
DVD and Blu-ray
11 Jan 2013
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