Les Misérables is set in a tense suburb of Paris, where anti-criminality police push against the violent gangs around and the young criminals in the making.
And yet, the greatest problem the film faces is for all the grit it shows, we’ve seen this all before and we’ve seen it done better.
This story of rookie riding along with his two new partners, and the audience getting to see the ravaged, difficult community-cop relations through his eyes, is not a new concept.
One needs to only see Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day to know that this type of film can be done so much more skillfully.
When the cops hurt a young boy — claiming it was an accident — their moves are captured by a drone and their arrest of the young man sparks riots. The last third of the film is thoroughly enjoyable, but ruined by a cop-out ending.
Any momentum director Ladj Ly creates is toppled down by the one or two mundane sequences that follow. Les Misérables is not a bad film. It’s just a bit too formulaic to recommend.
It was a decent escape from the serious documentaries I’d been watching, but amounts to nothing more than a solid — if cliche — rainy day crime drama.
It could have been better, and that’s what I find so frustrating.