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Les Miserables [2000] [DVD]

3.4 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Gérard Depardieu, Christian Clavier, John Malkovich, Virginie Ledoyen, Enrico Lo Verso
  • Directors: Josee Dayan
  • Writers: Victor Hugo
  • Format: PAL, Colour
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Arrow Video
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Sept. 2004
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002W19KQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,996 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Two-part mini-series adapted from the French classic by Victor Hugo, starring Gérard Depardieu and John Malkovich. Set against the turbulent background of the French Revolution, the story centres on Jean Valjean (Gérard Depardieu), a former petty thief and convict, who makes good after a bishop gives him a helping hand and becomes a businessman and leading civic figure. But his past comes back to haunt him in the guise of Javert (John Malkovich), former prison guard at the jail where Valjean was incarcerated, and now Chief of Police in the town where Valjean lives. Javert's determination to bring Valjean down consumes both men's lives, leading to a dramatic final confrontation on the revolution-torn streets of Paris.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Probably the best modern (i.e. colour) non-musical version of the film. However, as I have a slight hearing loss, the lack of subtitles on a film with foreign accents was sometimes a problem (the odd rewind necessary), so it loses a star. Nevertheless several months after buying, with kids out of the way on a rainy Sunday afternoon,I've just had a truly enjoyable three hours watching it. And it's worth it. I won't go into detail, but for me it really conveyed the inner turmoil and dilemmas faced by the main characters.
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Format: DVD
As soon as I saw this was an American production I realised it would be in English which given the largely French cast was an initial disapointment. The disapointment is short lived however as the acting from all the main characters is excellent in a prodcution that almost equals the Fredric Marsh version of the 1930s in terms of pace and delivery.
The cast realise they are involved in a classic tale and all rise to the occasion especially John Malkovitch and Gerard Deperdieu. After the first 15 minutes you tend to forget that most of the cast are not speaking in their native tongue and although a French language version may have added to the overall pleasure the cast did not appear to be too constrained by an English delivery. Overall a classic tale and almost classic delivery.
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By A Customer on 23 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
Well worth watching and leaves an enduring memory of the theme of forgiveness and redemption. Highly recommended.
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I was incredibly disappointed by this film. From the moment it started, and I realised that it was in English things were simply not right.(I know, I know... should have read the description). The majority of the actors were French, and as one would expect, heavily accented. This obviously hampered their ability to perform. The great Depardieu was particularly crippled by acting in the wrong language... one of his great strengths is his spoken French, which is beautiful. This was obviously stripped from him, so he had to rely on his presence alone to give tragic grandeur to his character. That he managed it at all is a testament to his acting ability. There are moments of heart stopping poignancy (as for example when he leaves his daughter for what he believes will be the last time. In a fraction of a second his face said it all.

John Malcovitch by the way was also wonderful, his suicide in particular was incredibly well done.

But apart from the odd flashes of brilliance, which occured occasionally despite the poor direction, the whole thing was a shambles. For one thing, if they were going to make the film in English, one would expect them to at least hire actors who spoke English well. It is not the fault of the French actors, but quite simply, the characters in the book were not intended to be heavily accented. They spoke French, au courant.

The direction is very choppy indeed, as a previous reviewer commented this led to scenes being poorly realised, and almost ridiculous because the context was not fully explored. The most obvious example of this was the scene where Val Jean saves his fellow prisoner. The fire just appears, and this giant of a man (Depardieu) seems almost a cliché.
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Format: DVD
This 4-part, 6-hour TV adaptation of Les Misérables has a lot going for it. First of all, the length; it's the longest adaptation of the novel (arguably the greatest French novel of the 19th century, and one of the longest). It has a large cast, with some excellent actors. Unfortunately, it's filmed in the typically bland style of French TV, and the direction is nothing more than workmanlike. When I first started watching this, I was almost tempted to give up after 15 minutes. But it got better over time. (I had similar thoughts when watching a recent film based on Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu by the same director, also made for TV.)

Gérard Depardieu plays Jean Valjean, and, for me, he doesn't quite fit the part. He's too big, too brash to have the subtlety the character needs. On the other hand, John Malkovich is an excellent Javert, though his dispassionate portrayal of the character can be seen as a bit too distant. Christian Clavier is Thénardier, and seems a bit out of place. A comic actor, generally in simple comedies, his persona doesn't quite fit. However, Virginie Ledoyen is nearly perfect as Cosette, with her innocence and fetching smiles.

But the main problem here is that everything is too clean, too heroic and idealized. Hugo did not write a novel where everyone is washed and shaved; he wrote about "les misérables," the downtrodded, the poor. These are people who suffer, not people with clean shirts all the time. In this adaptation, everything is just a bit too perfect. (It's totally different from the recent adaptation of the musical, which, for all its faults, does show the characters in squalor.
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Format: DVD
I thought this film managed to portray the majesty of the book very well. Most of the performances were excellent, particularly Depardieu who gave great depth of feeling to his character. Like another reviewer I'm a bit hard of hearing and the use of French actors speaking English added authenticity but did make intelligibility more difficult. I got round this by linking my TV to an infra-red transmitter and headphone system.
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