The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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The result is a powerful and exciting production -- the best French picture seen here for many months.
"Les Miserables" starts with Jean Valjean(Henry Baur) being released from prison after 19 years of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread, resisting arrest and four escape attempts. The catch is his yellow passport which means he has to check in with every locality he passes through and guarantees he will be shunned by every inn along the way. The exception is Monseigneur Myriel(Henry Krauss) who even forgives Valjean for his attempted theft, throwing in a couple of silver candlesticks in the bargain. In response, Valjean decides to turn his life around, becoming a civic leader and owner of a factory where Fantine(Florelle), a single mother, works.
I have only previously seen the 1998 adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel, so I am not really an expert on the material. At the very least, this early French language version is different than I was expecting, not least because Baur actually looks like somebody who might have been in prison, not a Hollywood casting call. Some things are familiar, like the singing in this non-musical version. However, in making an epic movie, it takes the idea of sprawling storytelling too far, leaving its main character off the screen for long periods of time, and only giving sporadic glimpses of Inspector Javert(Charles Vanel), making me wonder what the big deal was all about in the first place. A spectacular running battle which takes up most of the third part is only symptomatic in general of scenes that go on too long. And as much history is here, there is just as much melodrama. Sadly, poverty and the suffering of those just released from prison are still very much endemic to society.
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