The film started with an absolutely epic shot of the prisoners working at the galleys, and although Hugh’s opening vocals on Look Down were less than promising, the verse soloists were all great to hear (even though there were some dodgy accents!) Unfortunately the film doesn’t reach those epic heights again except for the last shot, mostly due to the director’s obsession with ignoring the great sets and constantly focusing in close ups of rarely more than one person at a time.
Anne Hathaway was as brilliant as everyone’s being saying, and she thoroughly deserves any awards she’s getting as Fantine. Russell Crowe’s voice wasn’t as bad as expected, although obviously other people could have done it better, and at least his acting suited the role of Javert. Colm Wilkinson was so exciting to see as The Bishop and Hugh Jackman had moments of brilliance in his opening soliloquies and songs, although there were also disappointing whispery moments- Who Am I is the best example of this conflict.
Eddie Redmayne was easily the best kept secret in this film; he was brilliant at making the audience with his every emotion, and it is a crime that he isn’t getting more recognition for his singing voice. I bought the soundtrack practically just for him. Samantha Barks was also wonderful, especially when with Eddie, as we knew she would be as she is so experienced at this role now. Amanda Seyfriend completed this little trio, and although Cosette as a character was as annoying as ever, it was clear that she really suited this role (Cosette is always the most irritating!) Her singing voice was also actually quite angelic and went together very nicely with Eddie and Sam in A Heart Full of Love.
The barricade boys worked together very well, and although Aaron Tveit wasn’t as strong an Enjolras as others in the past (see Ramin Karimloo) and his lines in One Day More could have had more impact, he was great at playing off his friends, especially George Blagden as Grantaire. Throughout the film, the ensemble numbers were always highlights, utilising the strong forces of talented actors and singers that a movie on such scale is able to bring together.
Overall, this is a well put together and emotional film, which, whilst not perfect, features some extremely talented players who create a viewing experience that you can’t help but want to return to almost immediately. Put this together with Schoenberg and Boublil’s classic music and it is an unforgettable version of a timeless musical. This will be around for a long time to come.