My fellow Drive-In Mobster Andrew Nahem is a boss on Twitter and co-creator of the Webby Award winning site Elevator Moods. For this edition of The Friends of 4DK, Andrew dug extra deep to bring us a peculiar oddity from the forsaken sub-basement of arcane cinema. If I didn't know him so well, I'd think he made it up.
******When Todd asked me to contribute a post to the Friends of 4DK Initiative, I was naturally appalled. First of all, I am not a bloggist. I may have written things here and there, but nothing discernibly blog-shaped (“oblog,” in the parlance I think—but again, I’m no expert). Furthermore, while I do enjoy the cult- or B- films, my knowledge of them falls far short of the 4DK standard. What could I possibly contribute to a learned discussion of Bollywood action films or rare Malaysian ghost stories that would elicit anything more than derisive laughter from this audience? What dark byway of cinema could I illuminate for these obscurantists and international cultists?
But at last I think I’ve unearthed a bizarre offering that could perhaps use some unpacking.
Les Misérables (USA, UK, 2012), dir. Tom Hooper.
Right away the uncanny nature of this production becomes evident. Readers of this blog are obviously familiar with the concept of the movie musical. But unlike the familiar tropes of, say, a Bollywood epic, these characters lift their voice in song while standing in the muck of sewers, getting a pixie-cut, etc. yet they do not dance. The colors, in fact, remain steadfastly dark and heavy. Further investigation reveals that the filmmakers attempted the rarely-tried experiment of having the actors sing these numbers live, which arguably increases the quality—and certainly the quantity—of the acting.
One night Valjean, out for one of his daily run-ins with Javert, discovers that one of the ships he had dragged into town as a convict so long ago has finally been turned to some use—as a brothel. It is there that he and Javert find Fantine plying the old trade, but as is their wont, they hold differing views on what to do about it.
We never find out what happens to France.