Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sorry Russell Crowe.....

I took myself to the movies this morning to see Les Miserables. I am always a bit concerned about going to see films of which I have heard good reviews. Inevitably, I am disappointed. Perhaps my standards are too high? Whatever. This post isn't about me. It's about Russell Crowe.

First though let's talk about the good things. Anne Hathaway has finally delivered a film performance I can praise because let's face it The Devil Wears Prada was too long, very boring and extremely superficial and the less said about The Princess Diaries the better. Her singing was impressive as Fantine and she did the part justice. Of course Hugh Jackman was outstanding as Valjean. Did we expect anything less? If you have seen him in Oklahoma (which let's face it you may not have) you would know the man can sing. Here he is perfect in every way. Amanda Seyfried is fine as Cosette, the most boring part perhaps but she manages to convey some substance. Eddie Redmayne (?) is excellent as Marius. I was genuinely moved by Empty Chairs and Empty Tables. This chap can sing and act. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen are fine comic relief as the Thenardiers. I expected a little more from them. At points I felt like they may have been phoning it in, but they got away with it as the comic foils all the same. The sets and costume were fabulous. The new song, Suddenly fitted seamlessly into the score. Unfortunately though Russell Crowe is dreadful miscast. That is, Crowe can sing but with the high standard surrounding him he fails to bring any sense of power to Javert and that is what is needed. Everyone else tromps all over him and (spoilers) when he falls into the Seine at the end all I thought was "meh" where it should have been a major moment in the plot. Also, he totally failed to do justice to Stars - one of the treasures in the many wonderful songs in Les Mis.
This is what it should sound like: I imagine there are a lot of excellent theatre actors who are currently despairing at Crowe's casting. It leaves a big hole in what otherwise is a great movie version of Les Miserables.

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