ADAP­TA­TION ON SONG

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

THOSE who won’t hear a bad word against our Hugh Jack­man should prob­a­bly stop read­ing now; with the screen­writer of this lat­est adap­ta­tion of the Vic­tor Hugo novel, An­drew Davies (of fame), us­ing the 2012 movie mu­si­cal as his rather un­pleas­ant punch­ing bag when he be­gan his work on this. Or as he de­scribed his, ahem, no­ble en­deav­our – to save the text “from the clutches of that aw­ful mu­si­cal with its dog­gerel lyrics.” Don’t tell Davies this but de­spite his fine work, I still found my­self hum­ming along to the famed sound­track while watch­ing episode one of this well done six-parter. It’s im­pos­si­ble not to hear the echo of the well-known an­thems now im­bued in ev­ery line, ev­ery scene of this. Still, I know the song-free fact will ap­peal to oth­ers and takes noth­ing away from the qual­ity per­for­mances de­liv­ered. Do­minic West is our hero, and looks ev­ery bit as hand­some and har­rowed as our Hugh. David Oyelowo is more me­nac­ing, I think, than Rus­sell Crowe (who also played Javert in the mu­si­cal but drifted into Bill Sykes from

ter­ri­tory, for mine). The themes of Hugo’s novel – in­tol­er­ance, poverty, re­demp­tion and so­cial jus­tice – have a par­tic­u­lar res­o­nance too, in the con­text of the pub­lic un­rest over Brexit and the yel­low vest-wear­ing pro­test­ers strik­ing out on the streets of Paris. And to come? Olivia Col­man, just your av­er­age Os­car win­ner and cur­rent queen of Hol­ly­wood at her mis­chievous best.

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