ADAPTATION ON SONG
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.