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Les Misérables

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France

2019

Rated R • 1h42

Ladj Ly

Director

Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djibril Zonga, Steve Tientcheu

Stars

Crime, Drama, Thriller

Genre

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Ruiz has just joined the Seine-Saint-Denis anti-crime brigade in an inner suburb of Paris, the same place where Victor Hugo wrote his masterpiece. He works with Chris and Gwada, two men with questionable policing methods, and soon discovers the deep tensions among different neighborhood gangs.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

67

The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

While I admired the one-day-in-David-Ayer-hell energy of the movie, I also found it bombastic and contrived. It’s the police drama as police baton.
88

TheWrap by Ben Croll

Ly rather cleverly inoculates his film to charges of repetition by outright owning them. Of course, you’ve seen stories like before. The film freely admits, these exact same stories, these preventable tragedies and pointless injustices have been manifesting themselves for hundreds of years.
75

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

The scalding final sequence of Ly’s film is powerful enough to obliterate the occasionally clumsy path by which it gets there.
80

Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney

For all its familiarity, Ly’s film is executed with enormous confidence and energy, building up to an apocalyptic ending that delivers on a gradual build-up of nervous tension.
70

Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

Ly surveys all his characters without judgment, but a longer, richer version of this movie might have distributed its sympathies to even more powerful effect.
80

CineVue by Martyn Conterio

Although the handling of certain plot dynamics on occasion isn’t as strong as its potent aesthetic finesse, Ly mounts a thriller operating as a savage indictment of social policies and underhand police tactics and ass-covering corruption.
60

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

The director may want to confront these issues head on – the racism and violence just below the surface. Indeed, raising it above the surface is the point. But much of the drama and humanity get blitzed by the molotov cocktails.
83

The Film Stage by Rory O'Connor

Ly makes a concerted effort to go beneath the topsoil of conventional Parisian crime films. Indeed, his script takes the time to show seemingly inconsequential things that go on behind the suburb’s closed doors, moments of rich contextual value if not obvious narrative importance.

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