Les Misérables Movie Review
Capsule Review: When you watch Amazon Studio’s Les Misérables, France’s official selection for the 2020 Academy Awards, you at least sort of understand why the country opted to submit this police drama over the critically acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire. It’s not that Les Misérables, which confusingly is not based on Victor Hugo’s book, is better than Lady on Fire—it isn’t—but its story, about corrupt policemen who attempt to cover up the near death of a child in the immigrant-heavy corners of Paris, is arguably a little more timely and more likely to resonate with Oscar voters.
On its own, Les Misérables is an absorbing little movie, even if it feels a bit too much like Training Day with more overt political messages and less fascinating characters (there’s no Denzel chewing up scenery here). While the film does a great job of depicting the combustible powder keg that is Paris’ outskirts, none of the characters are particularly likeable, even the lead (sole?) protagonist played by Damien Bonnard.
The experience is riveting in the moment but not one that stays with you much after. Good, but ultimately a bit disappointing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.