I know SPN is just around the corner but I wanted to chat briefly about Les Miserables.
I watched Les Mis a few weeks ago. Since then I've read a some reviews and have spoken to a few people about it. I've needed to do this because after I watched it I was left with a mess of reactions to it and I haven't been able to express what I actually thought about it. I was at once in awe and bored. I was in tears and then looking at my watch. I loved it and hated it. I was entranced but also incredibly frustrated by much of it.
I am posting now because I've come across a review that nails it for me. I want to share this because it's not only a comprehensive and entertaining review of Les Mis it's also a FABULOUS lesson in cinematography (and Film Making 101).
This is the review: Hulk Vs Tom Hooper and the art of Cinematic Affection
I'm new to this reviewer. He calls himself Hulk and does his reviews in 2nd person and in capital letters. Yeah. Sounds pretentious - except he knows his stuff and this style (I suppose) is about standing out among a hundred reviewers.
The style doesn't particularly suit me but what he says and how he says it does.
This review helped me to understand why I admired so much of this film (the performances, the story, the sets and a lot of the music) but didn't come away actually feeling
anything. Or rather I didn't come away saying "OMG! That was incredible!" - which is what I was totally expecting to do. I know a film has worked for me when I feel like I have experienced
something. An emotion, a new insight, a thrill, an escape.... Les Mis certainly left me feeling some of these things but it ultimately left me feeling unaffected and cold.
I'm really glad I saw it on the big screen. There was much I loved - Anne Hathaway's song, I Dream, was one of the best things I've experienced in forever, and the sets, costumes and commitment by the performers was impressive. (Though I am completely puzzled by the casting of Russell Crowe - I figure it was about his gravitas over his singing).
But this isn't about individual performances or singing abilities. Or whether the musical Les Miserables is a fabulous musical or not. It's about how the director, Tom Hooper, failed to allow his some of his audience members (me!) to connect with it. It comes down to film making.
Even if you found no fault in the film whatsoever I recommend this review for the Cinematography 101 section (about half way down). I adore this stuff - it's insightful and just downright interesting. READ IT if you are interested in what makes films work...or not.
oh, and a quote from this review I really liked...."And thus it brings us squarely into one of the most vile and misused words in the intellectual canon: pretentious. When talking about movies, or art, or individuals people seem to use the word pretentious wrong all the time. Most of the time they mean esoteric. Sometimes they mean ostentatious. But when someone is pretentious it means they are reaching for merit that is undeserved.Hulk