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  • Les Misérables ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Film

Les Misérables ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

OUT NOW! Ladj Ly’s impressive feature debut is a bracing police drama that doubles up as a riveting and urgent parable.

Image for Les Misérables ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Photo courtesy of Wild Bunch. Catch Les Misérables in Berlin cinemas now!

Anyone expecting to see Anne Hathaway weeping or hear Hugh Jackman’s mighty vibrato are in for a shock…

Ladj Ly’s impressive feature debut is a bracing police drama that doubles up as a riveting and urgent parable. Set in Paris’ Montfermeil suburb, where Victor Hugo wrote his classic novel, we meet a rural police officer who has recently been transferred to the inner-city anti-crime squad. He’s not likely to forget his first day. 

It’s very reminiscent of Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day in its narrative structure, but it also thrillingly echoes Mathieu Kassovitz’ La Haine for its raw depiction of the violent banlieues; the film’s greatest strength is how its urgent anger never settles for easy answers or binary stances. 

The less said the better – go see it for yourself, but be warned: Les Misérables’ sustained tension will make your bones shake, and that final showdown and literary quote will leave you speechless. 

Les Misérables | Directed by Ladj Ly (France, 2019), with Damien Bonnard, Djibril Zonga, Alexis Manenti. Starts Jan 23.

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