“Les Miserables” is yet another remake of the classic tale of the unfortunate escaped convicted turned rich, good-deed-doer. The all-star cast includes Liam Neeson, Claire Danes, Uma Thurman and, in an Academy Award-worthy supporting role, Geoffrey Rush.
For those not aware of the story, in current terms it could be compared to the 1993 Harrison Ford thriller, “The Fugutive.” Neeson plays Jean Valjean, the kind-hearted, escaped convict whose pursuit of freedom is constantly threatened by the villainous Inspector Javert, played by the truly menacing Geoffrey Rush. Valjean falls in love with the beautiful, but sickly Fantine (Uma Thurman) and, upon her deathbed, promises to care for her illegitimate daughter, Cosette (Claire Danes). Years pass and Valjean is again persued by the obsessed Inspector Javert until their paths inevitablably cross and finally bring their virtually lifelong chase to a long-awaited climax.
“Les Miserables” works surprisingly well considering the fact that the story has been told many times in the past. It does have problems creating realistic characters, but as unrealistic as the characters are portrayed they, as well as the film, are still compelling.