Home Les Miserables

Les Miserables (15)

Cast: Djebril Zonga, Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Issa Perica
Genre: Thriller
Author(s): Ladj Ly, Giordano Gederlini, Alexis Manenti
Director: Ladj Ly
Release Date: 04/09/2020 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 104mins
Country: Fr
Year: 2019

Stephane joins the Anti-Crime Squad in the Montfermeil suburb of Paris to be closer to his young son. He is assigned to shadow experienced duo Chris and Gwada, who willingly bend the law to get the desired results for their chief. During a hellish first day, Romany circus ringmaster Zorro threatens violence against The Mayor unless a stolen lion cub is returned within 24 hours. When the police finally apprehend the thief, a boy called Issa, fraught exchanges are captured on a drone camera.


 

LondonNet Film Review
Les Miserables (15)

Review: Victor Hugo’s 19th-century novel Les Miserables has been frequently adapted for stage and screen, including a flag-waving musical across the barricades which allowed Anne Hathaway to dream her dream of winning an Oscar. French writer-director Ladj Ly focuses intently on one quotation from the book – “There are no bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators” – for a nerve-jangling thriller, which lights the fuse on civil unrest in the housing projects where Hugo penned and partially set his masterpiece…

Opening with jubilant scenes in the capital as France beat Croatia 4-2 in the 2018 Fifa World Cup final, Les Miserables momentarily unites desperate characters to patriotic swells of La Marseillaise. The national anthem’s chorus implores men, women and children to form battalions and march against the bloody standard of tyranny. Ly and co-writers Alexis Manenti and Giordano Gederlini bide their time responding to this impassioned call to arms, stacking powder kegs of rage and resentment beneath crime-riddled communities which feel neglected by the upper echelons of power. “I am the law!” barks one trigger-happy police officer, whose malleable understanding of justice serves himself. When violence inevitably erupts, Ly captures these frenzied exchanges in exhilarating yet sickening close-up on handheld cameras, offering us no room to hide or draw breath.

Stephane (Damien Bonnard) joins the Anti-Crime Squad in the Montfermeil suburb of Paris to be closer to his young son. He is assigned to shadow experienced duo Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga), who willingly bend the law to get the desired results for their chief (Jeanne Balibar). During a hellish first day, Romany circus ringmaster Zorro (Raymond Lopez) threatens violence against The Mayor (Steve Tientcheu) unless a stolen lion cub is returned within 24 hours.

“The Mayor’s black?” asks Stephane. “Our very own Obama,” snorts Chris, a xenophobic bully who prowls the streets as if he owns them. When the police finally apprehend the thief, a boy called Issa (Issa Perica), fraught exchanges between Chris, Gwada and Stephane and a baying mob of stone-throwing adolescents are captured on a drone camera piloted by Buzz (Al-Hassan Ly).

Expanded from a 2017 short film, Les Miserables is ambitious in scope, zig-zagging between feuding factions of a broken Parisian society. Aerial drone footage of the capital offers a brief respite from testosterone-soaked confrontations, which Ly stages with brio. Characters are sketched in broad strokes with limited time to flesh out complex motivations beyond hand-to-mouth survival, underpinned by the bad-cop/good-cop dynamic of Chris and Stephane, which warps as the latter’s induction day reaches its shattering climax. Viewed through Ly’s lens, Hugo may have been misinformed when he declared there are no bad men.

– Kim Hu


London Cinemas Showing Les Miserables


From: Friday 11th June
To: Thursday 17th June

No cinema infomation at the moment

From: Friday 18th June
To: Thursday 24th June

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UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Les Miserables


From: Friday 11th June
To: Thursday 17th June

No cinema infomation at the moment

From: Friday 18th June
To: Thursday 24th June

No cinema infomation at the moment