From “Push Comes To Shove,” originally posted on 5.15: “Start to finish Les Miserables is rough, riveting, incendiary — written by Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti and brilliantly shot by Julien Poupard. It generally feels like a rough-and-tumble Antoine Fuqua film, using the basic dynamic of Training Day (but with three cops instead of two) plus a little Do The Right Thing plus a dash of the anxious urban energy of William Freidkin‘s The French Connection.
“But it’s about more than just urban action beats. It’s a racially charged tragedy, injected with sharp social detail and several strong (if somewhat sketchy) characters on both sides of the tale. It’s a bit splotchy and slapdash at times, but is quite the ride. Part policier and part social-canvas suspenser, Les Miserables is basically about conflicted cops (including one bad apple) under pressure vs. a crew of scrappy, rambunctious, vaguely criminal kids in the ‘hood. It takes the side of Montfermeil natives (director Ladj Ly was raised there) but also portrays the cops in reasonably fair and humanistic terms.”