Don’t tune in to excepting musical numbers or a 19th century setting, but this gritty urban thriller does share the themes of vengeance and social injustice with the titular novel, and is set in the same Parisian district. Inspired by the Paris riots of 2005, it follows three cops as they patrol the suburbs crime ridden estates, their corrupt and aggressive methods adding another layer of antagonism to the already volatile dynamic as various gangs jostle for power. When a moment of unnecessary violence from the cops against a black teenager is caught on camera, the tension reaches a flash point. Following events in 2020, the scenes of civil unrest among largely immigrant communities feel urgent and insightful in a film that recalls 1995 arthouse hit La Haine Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and landmark TV series The Wire.
“Blood, rage and barricades on the streets of Paris……fleet of foot and fiery of belly, this new Les Mis is an attention-commanding debut from a filmmaker (Mali-born, Ladj Ly) with a finger on his home town’s (Paris) ever-quickening pulse.” - Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph
“Ladj Ly’s César-winning drama explores life on a poor Paris estate as tensions with the police reach boiling point….this (film) slips stealthily from astute observation to urgent action…..A pulsing electro score by French music project Pink Noise adds sparse yet atmospheric accompaniment” - Mark Kermode, Guardian
“It is the most incendiary crime film to emerge from French cinema since Mathieu
Kassovitz’s La Haine” - Kevin Maher, Times (UK)