Oh yes it made me cry at least once. Yes I was impressed with the music. Yes some of the acting was really nice, and yes Russell Crowe seemed not to fit in. Same stuff everyone else has said, I’m sure, but two months late.
Hooper is the guy who made The King’s Speech, and has apparently let the big budget and musical numbers fog his memory of how to effectively edit a film. Huge Ackman is the former criminal, pursued unto death by supercop Crowe. Huge’s ex-employee and future oscar-winner Anna Hathaway dies a miserable prostitute, so Huge rescues her little girl Amanda Seyfried from her horrid keepers, welcome comic-relievers Helena Baron Carter and Sacha Bonham Cohen. Seyfried falls in love with Eddie Redmayne, whose doomed compatriots (including some very good young non-movie-stars who make us forget all about Seyfried for a spell) attempt another French Revolution. Huge saves his adopted daughter’s boyfriend, then suddenly dies of old age so they can carry on.
This movie is by definition hobbled, with no chance of equaling Raymond Bernard’s exquisite and resonant 1934 version of the novel, which unfolded over five luxurious hours. The stylistic elegance and visual coherence of that early French cinema adaptation have been traded in for an all-out sensory assault.
Jim Emerson’s hateful review round-up was pretty hilarious. “The actors are playing to the balcony while the camera (and those wide-angle lenses) push their faces into ours. It’s like Full Metal Jacket: The Musical! with all the parts played by R. Lee Ermey.”