Les Miserables Review: Russell Crowe Ruins Everything!

by at . Comments

Les Miserables is an impressive cinematic achievement that remains true to the iconic Broadway production, changing scarcely a storyline or a lyric and likely satisfying fans of the long-running musical.

There's just one minor problem: Russell Crowe absolutely cannot sing.

Russell Crowe as Javert

The Oscar winner portrays Inspector Javert in the film, an integral character who sets his sights on Hugh Jackman's fugitive, Jean Valjean.

But while Jackman has won Tony Awards and shined on stage, Crowe simply can't carry a tune.

He spends his time on screen concentrating so hard on each note and attempting to hide his accent while doing so that he fails to actually act. Javert is a fascinating, intense character, none of which comes off in Crowe's stoic performance.

The policeman is tasked with two solos, the final of which typically concludes - SPOILER ALERT - with a beautifully held long note, as Javert plunges to his death.

But the movie cuts the song short, removing the drama from this suicide and symbolizing the problem with Crowe's casting in general: you never forget that Russell Crowe is trying to sing like Inspector Javert. One of the best actors of his generation stands out, when he should be disappearing into the character.

Will Anne Hathaway win Best Supporting Actress for her role as Fontine? Yes. Will it be deserved? Absolutely.

Jackman is also strong, as is Samantha Barks (Eponine), and you can't go wrong with Sacha Baron Cohen as shady innkeeper Thenardier. But it's impossible to not be affected the most by Crowe and to envision the awards he ought to have coming down the line:

Sorry, Russell. But make room for a shelf full of Razzies.

(NOTE: For another take on the film, read the Les Miserable review from our friends at Movie Fanatic.)

Have you seen Les Miserables? Give it a grade now:


Ruined it? Really? It wasn't distractingly bad, I didn't think much about him to be honest.
And how come no one's talking about Eddie Redmayne? He stole the second half of the show, in my opinion. He lights up the screen and has a lovely voice. His "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" made me cry.

@ Annie

I have to agree with you about Eddie. His performance of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables was the best I've heard (and I've been a Les Miz fan for 25 years). I thought Jackman's voice was the worst of everyone. Russell Crowe was better than I thought he would be. At least he was on key. That can't be said for Jackman.


He wasn't bad at all at singing!
In fact I loved the way he sang!


his secind name?
...........THE CRASHER!!

@ cletes

The musical was great, except for Crowe. But not because of his bad singing, he sang passably well, but he's just NOT Javert. Javert is a pure ideologue. He's the French Taliban. The law is the law, even when the law is an ass. Crowe's voice was just too sweet. He was too ruffled. Javert would be impeccably dressed and quaffed, not a hair out of place. He was born in a prison and his sole is still there. He's trying to make up for the sins of his parents and the secret is, he never can, because he doesn't forgive them himself. Jean Valjean learns this lesson from the priest when he receives the pardon and the silver. He realizes that his sins can be forgiven and wiped out by love. Crowe never conveys any of the depth of Javert and his inner demons. He hates Valjean, because he hates himself!

Tags: ,