In Defence, Mostly, Of Les Miserables
My latest article for Quadrant Online:
I am not sure whether Steve Kates is simply being curmudgeonly in his review of the film of the musical Les Miserables, or really does believe it to be “a two hour and 40 minute indulgence in the worst kind of socialist idiocies.” If the latter, he is wrong.
The film has several faults. Chief among them is Russell Crowe, who employs a single facial expression throughout; surly. He does surly very well, but one expression is not enough to cover the complicated character of Inspector Javert, who struggled with the same questions as Valjean but chose differently. Also, Crowe can’t sing, or certainly not well enough to convey convincingly the drama of Javert’s righteous conviction, or at the end, his inner struggle.
Hugh Jackman, by way of contrast, employs three facial expressions; happy, sad and troubled. Troubled also covers angry. Three expressions in a single movie prove that he is an actor of great depth, so it is likely he will win a Golden Globe in 2013, or perhaps some other plastic statue.
The real surprise was Anne Hathaway, whom I have always dismissed as an airhead. Her depiction of Fantine creates some genuinely moving moments in a film otherwise painted in lavish strokes of mere sentimentality.
Read the rest at Quadrant Online.