Les Misérables (2019)

Ladj Ly directs Damien Bonnard, Djibril Zonga and Alexis Manenti in this French crime drama where three cops who police the streets of ‘Les Bosquets’ reveal their corruption, racism and humanity after an arrest of a child goes wrong.

Yes. YES! This is the cinema we want. Exciting, politically charged, looking for humanity even in the darkest corners and thrilling in its bursts of violence and morality. Ly puts you right in the centre of the tension… stop and searches, mob stand-offs, chases, full out orchestrated riot chaos. You are dragged along, dodging rocks, scraping around corners. The flow and tone is established in the opening sequence. A group of kids ride into Paris to celebrate the World Cup final. They ain’t white or Christian but they take patriotic pride in the victory. Why shouldn’t they? The famous players are immigrants from backgrounds similar to their own. But the mood turns from jubilant to oppressive. Celebration turns to mob threat. Then our day begins… What a 36 hours! I liked the moments where characters who could be from a Victor Hugo classic melded into the contemporary weaving action. Lauded after a year on the international circuit (the posters where still up at the locked down cinemas of Amsterdam when we visited in March) this has been a long time coming to the UK. Worth the wait. If anything I’d say the title and poster very much undersell what a impactful crime thriller this is. If you love La Haine or A Prophet, you should be seeking this out.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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