Eddie Redmayne

Les Misérables (2012, Tom Hooper)

Thank goodness for Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen… otherwise, someone might confuse Russell Crowe’s performance as the most inept in Les Misérables. Actually, Crowe’s quite a bit better than Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried too. Redmayne just can’t sing–neither can Crowe, but it doesn’t impair his acting too much–and Seyfried’s just misused. Director Hooper–possibly sticking to the original stage production–never bothers to establish her relationship with adoptive father Hugh Jackman. As a result, Seyfried never resonates.

As for Jackman, he’s good but the film takes place around him. It works when it’s Anne Hathaway, who’s absolutely amazing in the film and just one of her songs is worth sitting through the entire boring picture, but flops when it’s Redmayne. Samantha Barks is part of a love triangle with Redmayne and Seyfried and she’s not bad. She can’t carry the second half of the film though.

What’s so inexplicable about Les Misérables is the bad casting. Why anyone put Redmayne in it opposite someone who can obviously sing and act–Aaron Tveit–and then give Redmayne the bigger role is (artistically speaking) beyond me. Hooper mollycoddles about half the cast, which doesn’t do the film any favors.

Of course, Hooper doesn’t do it many favors himself. He can’t direct actors (child actor Daniel Huttlestone is atrocious) and he can’t direct the CG sequences either. The film looks absurdly silly at times, especially with Danny Cohen’s truly incompetent photography.

Hathaway and Jackman deserve a better production.



Directed by Tom Hooper; screenplay by William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer, based on the musical by Boublil and Schönberg and the novel by Victor Hugo; director of photography, Danny Cohen; edited by Chris Dickens and Melanie Oliver; music by Schönberg, lyrics by Kretzmer; production designer, Eve Stewart; produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Samantha Barks (Éponine), Aaron Tveit (Enjolras), Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thénardier), Sacha Baron Cohen (Thénardier), Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) and Isabelle Allen (Young Cosette).

Like Minds (2006, Gregory J. Read)

If Like Minds weren’t shot in Panavision and it didn’t star Toni Collette (just because she hadn’t fallen off the radar far enough yet), it’d be the pilot for an Australian crime drama. Collette would be the criminal psychologist with Richard Roxburgh as the brutish but noble cop who had to put up with her (they’re ex-lovers no less). Well, and for the plotting, which casts Collette and Roxburgh aside, telling most of the story in flashback, as she tries to discover just what happened to a dead teenager. The prime suspect? His friend.

The whole thing is–down to the Hitchcock reference, but sadly not Rope–a cheap attempt to turn that TV episode script into a feature. As a director, Gregory J. Read isn’t terrible. His Panavision is not geared for 4:3 (or even 16:9); a not insignificant compliment. However, as a writer, he’s an idiot. Like Minds is astoundingly predictable–one of the major reasons for finishing it is the assumption an accomplished actor like Collette wouldn’t sign on to a project with a cheesier ending than Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan… but she apparently did. What’s more criminal is how interesting, with Roxburgh a solid copper and Collette capable of so much more, a barely competent screenwriter could have made Like Minds.

Had the film been about Collette and her ambition, it would have been… well, maybe not stunning, but pretty good and at least a decent thriller and not a stupid one.

Nigel Bluck’s cinematography is rather nice and he gives the pseudo-British countryside (why make an Australian movie look like a British one) a rather widescreen scope. It’s rather nice and sometimes succeeds in distracting from Read’s script’s more glaring illiteracies.

As the two teenagers, Eddie Redmayne is better as the suspect. He’s questionable at times, but decent. Tom Sturridge is competent–sometimes–as a creep, but most of the time he’s just awful. Read also misses the big gay theme in his “yes it is, no it’s not” Leopold and Loeb modernizing–occasionally, as Sturridge runs around in a wet t-shirt, I thought he’d get around to the homoeroticism… but he never does. Why? Because it’d make sense and be competent. And Read’s anything but.

As for Collette, she ought to be embarrassed. Another one like Like Minds, she’ll be to Australia what Val Kilmer is to New Mexico.



Written and directed by Gregory J. Read; director of photography, Nigel Bluck; edited by Mark Warner; music by Carlo Giacco; production designer, Steven Jones-Evans; produced by Jonathan Shteinman and Piers Tempest; released by Becker Films.

Starring Eddie Redmayne (Alex), Tom Sturridge (Nigel Colbie), Toni Collette (Sally), Richard Roxburgh (McKenzie), Patrick Malahide (Headmaster), Jon Overton (Josh), Amit Shah (Raj), David Threlfall (John Colbie), Cathryn Bradshaw (Helen Colbie) and Kate Maberly (Susan Mueller).

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