Les Misérables, Tom Hooper’s follow-up to Oscar-bothering Heritage bromance The King’s Speech, offers all the pageantry of the 80s stage phenomenon, but also an arresting cinematic experience. Spanning 20 years from 1815 as France is engulfed by revolution, Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean. Released from a chain-gang to an equally bleak existence as parolee, Valjean is dogged by guilt and his former jailor Jarvet (Russell Crowe) as he encounters a variety of characters, each offering the ex-con a stab at redemption.
While the grander set-pieces astound, it’s the tightly framed, single-take delivery of the famous solos that provide intimate, emotive heft – Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne’s numbers are particularly devastating. The riotous Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen stand out as rapscallion landlords, the Thénardiers. Crowe’s tuneless drone even endears in conjunction with his thinly-veiled glee at tackling a new genre. A bold filming of a theatrical classic, anyone with a fondness for the original production and a wee greet will lap this up.